Our 1,000 day priorities

ROI will work to fulfill our mission to end generational cycles of trauma and poverty by preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress through four main areas of work.

Design research

In the summer of 2017, we conducted over 30 interviews with parents and providers in the East Tarboro neighborhood in Edgecombe County, NC. This neighborhood was identified by community members as a priority area to focus on as the starting point for ROI's work. These interviews were conducted following the human-centered design process to ground ROI's work in empathy and understanding. 

The following are the insights that were generated as a result of sythesizing data and themes across all of the interviews:

Systems Map

Our working systems map was a result of over 300 interviews and workshops with community members, service providers, parents, and experts.


The map offers a neutral picture of the forces and relationships present within a system. It provides a place to hold all of these stories together and see how they are connected. Now, with a deep and comprehensive understanding of context, it is possible to take the next step: finding leverage. In a similarly participatory fashion, 71 stakeholders with vast and unique experiences within the system were brought together to identify areas of outsized impact illuminated by the map. They worked collectively to assess the dynamism in the system, and then used this insight to hypothesize where action could have the greatest impact.

Options to view the map:

Systemic Strategy

Our partner, Engaging Inquiry, documented an in-depth report to share both the process Rural Opportunity Institute used, and the 3-pronged strategy that the community has identified as the highest leverage areas to start.


Through a Leverage Workshop that was hosted in March of 2018, community leaders identified the following strategy:

Strategic Pilots

In alignment with the strategy that emerged from the systems mapping process, ROI has been working with different community leaders and organizations to design and pilot interventions that support increased awareness and healing.

Strategic Area #1: Increase knowledge and awareness about trauma-informed and resilience-focused science and practices

©2020 by Rural Opportunity Institute.