SOAR announces Summit Innovation Award recipients

Published 11:01 am Thursday, October 10, 2019

PIKEVILLE — Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) has announced its Innovation Award recipients from the 2019 SOAR Summit.

SOAR, through a partnership with BB&T, awarded four organizations a $1,000 prize. They are:

• Be Boss Online — Administered by the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED), Be Boss Online is an innovative and comprehensive curriculum that helps business owners feel as confident about digital marketing as they are about managing their business. Be Boss Online was developed specifically for entrepreneurs. To date, over 120 students have graduated from 17 training locations in eastern Kentucky.

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• Hindman Settlement School Foodways Program — In 2014, Hindman Settlement School was selected as a Grow Appalachia site. Starting with 18 families, staff and volunteers began teaching home gardening and preservation which led to discussions of heirloom seeds, recipes, and local food. Today, the Foodways program serves 65 families in-home gardening, offers over 20 production and food workshops a year, partners in coordinating the Knott County Farmers Market, develops place-based models of production and marketing through their farm and greenhouses, and empowers producers to add value to their products through the Kentucky Colonels Canning Kitchen.

• Floyd County STEM Bus — The STEM Bus in Floyd County Schools is an opportunity that offers a dynamic and interactive mobile learning space to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math. Bus highlights include 13 stations with the latest STEM equipment, magnetic dry-erase stations, up-to-date technology such as iPads and Chromebooks, robots, and 30 virtual reality headsets. The content and activities are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, Computer Science Standards, and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students.

• Hope Building — Hope Building is a partnership between Housing Development Alliance, Inc., Perry County Drug Court, Hickory Hill Recovery Center, Hazard Community and Technical College, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), and other local/regional agencies that enables people recovering from opioid and other addictions to return to the workforce, thus greatly enhancing their chances of succeeding in recovery.

“The recipients of the Innovation Awards truly exemplify the work of SOAR and our partners,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of SOAR. “We believe that these organizations are working in collaboration with multiple partners to achieve outcomes that are transformational.”

To learn more about SOAR, visit To see proof of SOAR’s Blueprint for the Future of Appalachia in action, visit