Rural Opportunity Institute

Building a trauma-informed, resilience-focused rural Eastern NC

Request a Virtual Training: COVID-19 Response

ROI is able to offer virtual training, coaching and technical assistance. Please complete this form to request a virtual training for your team and organization:

ROI Speaking Engagement request form


Our Mission

ROI is a social innovation lab that designs solutions built around the needs of individuals and families in rural Eastern North Carolina.


Purpose: To end generational cycles of trauma and poverty by preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress.


Guiding star we're working towards: A system that builds the capacity of rural communities to support people's healing from adversity to achieve health, safety, connection, and self-determination for current and future generations.


What we believe

The community holds the answers for unlocking its greatest potential. Safe, compassionate relationships are restorative to people and systems that have experienced trauma. Our role is to hold the space where conversations can shift from singular blame, to shared opportunity.


No one community can remove all trauma, but we can change how we respond when it occurs. Unaddressed trauma and toxic stress negatively impact the health of individuals, communities, and systems. By building knowledge about the myriad impacts of trauma, and skills to engage appropriately, we can build healing and resilience in ourselves and our communities.


Resilience offers a pathway to healing from trauma. We work to build the skills for resilience in individuals and communities through positive relationships, opportunities to build skills through repetition and learning from failure to build people’s ability to self determine.


The forces that enable trauma in all of its constructs (acute, chronic, intergenerational, racism, oppression) are complex, interconnected, and occur at multiple levels. To achieve the transformational change our communities deserve, we must look at the whole system and build a shared understanding of the patterns underneath the problems. Through this approach we can effectively target disruptions and enhancements that will move the system towards greater health

Meet The Community Board

Purpose: A cohort of community members who direct the work of Rural Opportunity Institute from residents’ perspective and hold the organization accountable for building a more trauma-informed, resilience-focused rural Eastern NC.


Membership: Community members from diverse backgrounds and experiences, with particular attention to those most impacted by trauma and those working to build resilience.

Felicia Cofield

Eulanda Thorne

Byron Hall

Teen Parent Mentor at Community Enrichment Organization

Tarboro, NC

Matthew Johnson

Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office

Tarboro, NC

Middle School Counselor at Martin Millennium Academy

Tarboro, NC

Yolanda Ray-Henderson

Middle School Counselor at West Edgecombe Middle School

Tarboro, NC

Pastor at World Healing Christian Center

Princeville, NC


Our Team

Vichi Jagannathan & Seth Saeugling, Co-Founders

Vichi & Seth first came to Eastern North Carolina as high school teachers. After teaching, they both had the opportunity to learn the human-centered design process from leading design firms (IDEO & Frog) in the SF Bay Area, and became exposed to the emerging science surrounding ACEs and trauma. Inspired by the relationships they had built and the resilience they had observed in the kids and families they got to know while teaching, they formed ROI in 2017 to apply the knowledge they had acquired in the Bay to community-identified priorities in rural Eastern NC.

Contact Us


Thanks for your interest in our work. If you are interested in working with ROI for a presentation or speaking engagement please submit your request through this form for the quickest response:

ROI Speaking Engagement request form

For all other inquiries, please complete this contact form and we will be in touch shortly.


©2020 by Rural Opportunity Institute.