In 2000, the Winter Institute helped the Rome Community Development Organization (RCDO) implement a grant for construction of sewer system in Rome, Miss. By helping to build the infrastructure of the community, we helped create a foundation for other community projects that include rebuilding a former drug haven into a youth community center, youth arts programs, and an oral history project of the community’s history. The Institute helped to initiate a children’s library, collecting more than 600 books for ages K–12, and a summer reading program.
In 2004, the Institute trained Rome to youth conduct oral histories of their community. The young people then visited the campus for a two-day retreat of classes, Web site development, and recreation. In June 2005, several young people from Rome, along with their parents, attended the civil rights education summit in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where they presented a workshop on Sunflower County civil rights history.