Media Advisory: Communities of Healing Summer Gathering set for Beckley on Monday

Media invited to cover event

WV Press Release Sharing

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The Communities of Healing (COH) Summer Gathering will be held Monday, July 31, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fruits of Labor, 313 Neville Street, Beckley, W.Va.

Cohort business participants (past and current), grant partners, community supporters, and existing companies that are hiring workers in recovery will be participating.

The Gathering, the eighth since the inception of the Communities of Healing program will celebrate the first Investment Lab training cohort graduates bringing our total to 34 program graduates to date. In addition, the program has provided an additional 485 entrepreneurs/business owners with recovery-to-work information and training and created 30 new jobs.    

Current cohort graduates include:

Samantha Phillips, Sage and Lila Company

James Birt, Appalachia Impact Gaming LLC

Kelsey Riggi, Lila Bear Explor(her) Club

Peter Corum, SEEAppalachia 

Kimberly Bolen and Thomas Austin, BDF Enterprises

Full details of the in-person and virtual event can be found at:

Tammy Jordan, president of Fruits of Labor, said “We were able to open our fourth dining location in the last 24 months as part of the greater Communities of Healing collaborative effort. In late June we opened the Fruits of Labor Pizzeria and Coffee and Ice Cream Shop on the Ground Level of the 313 Neville Street location to offer another unique casual dining experience for customers and expanded our ability to educate, train, certify, and employ more individuals in recovery. A Grand Opening is planned in the near future.”

Opportune times for interviews include: 9:30 – 9:55 a.m., or during break at 10:45 -11 a.m., lunch 12 -1 p.m., and at the end of the program at 3 p.m.

Judy Moore of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority/West Virginia Hive Network will be the on-site event point of contact.

Summer Gathering Agenda

9:30 a.m –Breakfast and Registration

10 a.m. –Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:10 a.m. – Introduction of Partners

10:15 a.m. – Technical Assistance Support for Cohort Participants: Human Resources and Accounting

10:45 a.m. – Breakand Networking Time

11 a.m. –Stigma Reduction Presentation by Jay Phillips, Executive Director of Seed Sower, Inc.

11:15 a.m. – Celebration of Fruits of Labor Workforce Graduates and Testimonials from Student Station Supervisors

11:30 a.m. –Recognition of Past Cohort Participants and Available Services by Paul Wright, Owner of Wright Venture Services

11:45 a.m. – Graduate Certificate Presentation and Recognition of Officials by Judy Moore, Deputy Director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority

12 p.m. – Lunch and Networking

1 p.m. – MarketingWorkshop: Branding Strategies with Rita Colistra, PhD, Integrated Marketing Communications Strategies and Consulting

3 p.m. – Closing Remarks

The Communities of Healing program was funded in 2020 by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The innovative program is designed on the success of Fruits of Labor, a culinary program that has worked for 11 years with those in recovery and 22 years in business. The successful Communities of Healing program includes a partnership group consisting of Fruits of Labor, Region 4 Planning and Development Council, Seed Sower, Inc., Wright Venture Services, Region 1 Workforce Development Board, and West Virginia Hive. More information about the Communities of Healing program can be found at

The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and a Communities of Healing program partner. More information about the WV Hive can be found at

Media Contact: Judy Moore – [email protected], (304) 669-4870