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Our Rural Pennsylvania asked participants to share their hope for the future of their community. What changes did they want to see in their communities to better support families and health? What did they want to share with elected officials and government agencies about this topic? Below are select responses.

We want our communities to...

embrace differences,


“I think... the older generation kind of has that closed-mindedness to children who are curious about differences. My daughter likes to wear short hair and stuff that's not the typical girl thing or say the boys aren't into the typical boys things, there's a little bit of that kind of stigma here...I would hope to see as time passes that there is more open-mindedness.”

“[I hope] that we continued to move ahead... that we embrace differences in people because, of course, when you are in a rural community differences aren't always... sometimes they're frowned upon and I don't like that. So, I hope that we can forge ahead.”

build affordable safe housing,


“For rentals...I've watched it over the years, like the price of renting a home here has gone up significantly because of the influx of pipeline workers. Obviously, they have the money and so the landlords around here just jack up the prices.”

“We need more housing for people’s needs. I wouldn't say it’s too expensive. We're pretty much the cheapest around. But the housing list for people that do need help is really, really long because there's not many places that have affordable housing. The complex that they have specifically for [affordable] housing, there's only 20 units.”

have safe infrastructure
and public transportation,


“I would like to see... some kind of transportation [to early education programming] so that the parents don't have to worry about...driv[ing] them to school because this is a big county... there's a lot of hills and snow and trees.”

"I would definitely like to see public transportation for my town. That's my biggest thing I want,

I want public transportation.... I hope that when he's (child) older he has the option for public transportation.”

“I think the lack of sidewalks is a big thing because that makes it hard for people to walk if they have to walk. It's difficult around here because the sidewalk, like maybe there will be one for a little bit, but then it just stops. So that is one thing that would make a difference...if there were more pedestrian friendly places.”


“I wish that one of the towns right here would some type of banquet hall or party place, to do indoor birthday parties in the wintertime. If we had some type of indoor facility…I wish we had some type of banquet hall, even if it was just like a big empty room where people can go and still do a party... And if they had tables and chairs, that's really what we need... There's so many vacant buildings. I wish somebody would buy one and turn it into a hall, even for weddings... and graduation parties and baby showers and stuff.”  

create public spaces, 

preserve open space
and working landscapes,

“I hope that it can continue to stay rural and stay a nice area. We have a lot of farmland and we are very concerned that it would be be sold off for development, which is what we do not want. Growing up here, you don't want to see your community be turned into a don't want to see a whole bunch of houses built up. So, I just hope it continues to stay rural and that we continue to preserve the farmland and have a successful future for agriculture and our little community.”


and invest in
health care and human services.


“I never had health insurance...My husband worked in a coal I never had health insurance. He would have had to pay an arm and a leg to get me insured. So, I went like 10 years without health insurance at all.  That was before Obamacare and all that.”

“One of my things is I really hope that in the future we get... better healthcare services for children. There's not very much in our community...unless you're traveling....I'm fortunate enough, I have a car that's like, well-maintained, I'm able to make these long trips, but...I often think of the families who, it's not within their means

to travel two hours away

to find out what's wrong

with their child.”

“A downside right now is our hospital is basically closing, which is not good. It would be nice if they try to get a hospital in here, a little better than what we got right now. That would be a huge bonus for our area. So not everybody would have to travel so much out area for appointments.”  

“I would say better healthcare system. The hospital that we have... it's really the only hospital in the area…so improving on some of their departments.  Like the OB department, if they were able to improve on women's health and make it more personable, they seem very broad focused. So, if they were able to just hone in on a few of their departments and make their patients feel more important and valued then I think that would be real benefit to the area.”

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