Growing our own

Published 10:23 am Friday, January 19, 2018

An exciting new project related to economic development and entrepreneurship is happening in Harlan County. Growing Our Own is an investment in students from Harlan County High School, Harlan High School and KCTCS who want to live in Harlan and who are interested in owning their own business.

The project has two arms. The first arm provides AIMS aptitude testing for students who want to live in and own a business in Harlan. This aptitude testing will identify the particular talents of each individual and will help them to match their passions and talents to a fulfilling career. The second arm of the project is an educational component that fosters the entrepreneurial spirit. This arm will begin with a group reading of the book entitled, “Who Owns the Ice House — Eight Life Lessons from An Unlikely Entrepreneur.” The lessons taught in this book are choice, opportunity, action, knowledge, wealth, brand, community and persistence. These lessons form the backbone of the entrepreneurial mindset. The educational component will occur through group meetings as well as video conferencing. Students who show interest in a particular field of business will be mentored by local business owners in that field.

Growing Our Own project founders, Donell Busroe and Pat Bryson, say they are interested in improving the economy of Harlan County by investing in the youth who desire to live here. They believe that teaching the important lessons found in the “Ice House” book early in life will help to prepare Harlan County youth for a successful future. Equipping those same students with self-knowledge and the confidence to recognize one’s individual talents will enable those students to reach their highest potential in the shortest amount of time. The motto, “Their dreams, our future” is more than simply words. It is the reality of the future of Harlan County.

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Students will be selected for participation in the project based upon the answers they provide on a survey administered at the schools. They will also submit an essay describing why they would like to be selected for this project. Twenty students will be chosen and AIMS aptitude testing will begin in early February.

If you are interested in helping with this project or if you would like to donate to support it, please contact Donell Busroe at or 606-573-4550. The cost for sponsoring one student is $225 and all donations are greatly appreciated. Donations can be mailed to the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky — Growing Our Own, 420 Main St., Hazard, KY 41701.