The Lonesome Pine Office on Youth was conceived in 1980 by a resolution from the Wise County Board of Supervisors which established the Wise County Youth Service Board to oversee the operations of the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth. The Wise County Board of Supervisors provided 25% of the funding with the remainder funded by the Virginia Department of Corrections. In 1989, the City of Norton officially joined the Wise County Youth Service Board, thus creating the Wise County/Norton City Youth Service Board. In 1997, the Lee and Scott Counties Board of Supervisors, by Resolution, requested to join the Wise County/Norton City Youth Service Board. The Wise County Board of Supervisors officially agreed to expand into Lee and Scott Counties in 1997, thus creating the Lonesome Pine Youth Service Board. In 2001 the General Assembly completely cut funding to the Offices on Youth, devastating some offices. Some offices were forced to close others were "adopted" by their counties. Wise County was unable to absorb the financial burden of the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth. The Lonesome Pine Office on Youth board decided to continue on its own with grant writing and fund raising programs. This office has remained uninterrupted since losing state funding thru grants and fund raisers. In 2004 the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth applied for and did receive its 501(c)(3) non profit tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.      


Since its inception, the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth has been conceiving, developing, and implementing delinquency prevention and youth development programs based on needs assessments in which the communities of Wise County and the City of Norton took a look at where they were, what their needs were, and how to fill the "gaps in services" which were identified.


The Youth Service Board and Office on Youth adopted a leadership style known as The Enabler. The Enabler for community development programs, as explained in Creating Interagency Projects: School & Community Agencies by Joseph Ringer, Jr., from the 1977 Community Collaborators, Charlottesville, Virginia, is the person who anticipates community needs, creates an awareness of the needs, and activates a process to cope with the needs; the person who patiently and persuasively motivates people to explore the alternatives available; the person who organizes, encourages, guides and prods others into conceiving creative solutions for community problems; the person who stimulates, conciliates, and knows just how much power and what type of power to apply to achieve certain objectives; the person who knows where and how to develop political support for the program. The Enabler assists community representatives and agency personnel in arriving at reasonable programs, which are responsive to community needs.


Enablers are known by many names and are found both within agency staffs and as patrons of agency services. They may be called planners, community directors, community developers, extension agents, or any number of other titles. Researchers have not been able to identify any meaningful list of qualities or attributes, which applies to these individuals. Leadership frequently is a transactional quality depending upon time, circumstances and, other persons.


  • The Enabler is a motivator and teacher or counselor rather than a leader in the traditional sense. The prime function of the Enabler is to develop leaders for community development. Those community leaders must bear the responsibility for the planning and implementation of the interagency project. The Enabler remains in the picture as a guide and conciliator to provide expertise throughout the process and as a person whose personal qualities generate confidence, loyalty, faith, and dedication.

  • The Enabler must maintain a low profile in order that the community has an opportunity to develop its own leadership and to set its own course. Community members are to be the consumers of the services as well as the stockholders of the agency, which will provide the services. The Enabler and agency staff should see themselves only as intermediaries in delivering the levels and types of services which the community is willing to support. The Enabler identifies problems/opportunities; motivates; organizes; suggests/develops alternatives; encourages creativity; provides guidance; expedites; prods; and conciliates/effects compromises.

  • The Enabler has many tools to use with community development projects. Some of them may be categorized under the heading of restlessness or an insatiable desire to help the community become better than it is. The Enabler is always provoking others by asking questions, such as the following: Why not strive for something better? Is what we are what we want to be? Is there a more effective way of satisfying our community needs? Even though our community is healthy today, will it be good enough for tomorrow? Should we keep on doing what we have been doing, or should we consider different arrangements of service?

Stimulation of community groups to study present circumstances as well as to explore alternative arrangements is another tool which is effective in community development. Inducing discussions, study groups, or task forces to focus on community conditions, steering community activities so that new developments within and beyond the community are recognized, and encouraging citizen participation in public forums are all effective in raising awareness levels of the need for a community to revitalize itself through self-examination.


During the past twenty -five years, the Youth Service Board and Office on Youth have been instrumental in the development of over forty programs and/or services based on their Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Plan. To date, over thirty of those programs/services are still in existence due to the outstanding support received from the communities.


During this twenty-five year period, the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth has conducted over 1,500 public education programs based on problems identified in its Needs Assessments and Six-Year Plan. This also includes over four million dollars that have been received through grant writing for various programs and projects. Over 2000 volunteers have donated over 75,000 hours to various programs coordinated by the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth for a financial advantage (in-kind) to the community worth over $1,000,000.


The Youth Service Board and the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth would like to thank the many human service agencies, civic groups, church groups, and individuals who have devoted their time, energy, and resources to the development of programs and/or services needed by the Lonesome Pine Office On Youth since the loss of government support. The collaboration and coordination between these groups have resulted in sharing, improving, and enlarging the overall community efforts of preventing delinquency and providing wholesome youth development in Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties and the City of Norton. 


The need for an Office on Youth to operate a direct services program shall be documented and included in the Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Plan and Biennial Operating Plan. This is done on a program by program basis when no local existing agency can be found to implement the program. The opportunity for the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth to provide the needed services will be approved or decided by the Youth Services Board.


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