Gateway to Your Future

gateway program

This event was held at Stephen F. Austin University for eighth grade students in Nacogdoches County schools. Bridge Year, a Houston-based non-profit agency, brought 6 hands-on career simulations: phlebotomy, electrician, plumber, pharmacy technician, network technician, and automotive technician. Eighth graders countywide were invited to come “test drive” two of the six choices and Bridge Year staff guided open discussions about next steps for highs school and beyond.  Local industry professionals attended and answered questions from participants.

This event was made possible by Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce, with the support of Stephen F. Austin’s Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation, Better Together, Charles and Marie Bright Foundation, Nacogdoches Independent School District, and Workforce Solutions of Deep East Texas.

Blue Zone Committee

Blue Zones - how-to festival

One of the Better Together Common Agenda goals is to “improve the overall health of our community by transforming it into a Blue Zone Community.” The Blue Zone Committee is exploring the benefits of the Blue Zone Project and ways we can implement its tenets. The Blue Zones Project, developed by Dan Buettner, is an evidence-based community-driven solution to help people live longer and better lives as part of building a culture of health and well-being. The project focuses not on changing human behavior but instead on making healthy choices the easy choice.

The Blue Zones Project employs the Power 9 - nine lifestyle habits of the world's longest-lived people and the Life Radius- the area close to home where we spend most of our time to create transformational and sustainable changes within our community. In short, the Blue Zones Project nudges people to move more, build meaningful social connections with others, eat better, and develop the right outlook. Learn more about The Blue Zones Project.

Rural Broadband Initiative

Access to broadband internet service is lacking in Nacogdoches County, especially in outlying areas. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inadequacies of our broadband infrastructure and reinforced the importance of addressing such, especially given the implications for telecommuting, online education (K-12 and higher education), and telehealth services (health, mental health, and social services). There are also significant long-term implications for economic development, education, and delivery of health, mental health, and social services. Given this, Better Together, the City of Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches Independent School District, Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation, the County of Nacogdoches, Stephen F. Austin State University, and NacSpace are working together to improve broadband services for all residents of Nacogdoches County.

The first step in our efforts is a partnership with Connected Nations and Connected Texas to create a TAP (Technology Action Plan), which we funded through cost-sharing with our partners and a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. We invited all Nacogdoches County residents to join us on July 19, 2022 to learn more about this initiative (English and Spanish). We also asked residents to assist by telling us about their access to internet services (surveyed July through early October 2021 (English and Spanish). The survey results and related recommendations are available here.

I Am From

This was a community writing project sponsored by Better Together and the Community Arts Center of East Texas.  The goal was for community members to learn about each other through creative writing. Learn about your neighbors – online “I am from” gallery.  Our submission forms were available in English and Spanish.

COVID-19 Information Initiative

During the COVID-19 National Emergency Better Together was involved in a partnership with the City of Nacogdoches, the County of Nacogdoches, and the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce that was focused on disseminating information about COVID-19 precautions, practices, and vaccines.