Area organization collecting positive experience stories from Mahoning Valley residents

Local News

(WKBN) – A local organization wants to show people why the Mahoning Valley is a great place to relocate.

Thrive Mahoning Valley is working on a project collecting personal stories from people who have moved to the area.

“This project is called Dear Mahoning Valley. We want to do a storytelling effort where we’re having people tell their own stories of their experience coming to the Mahoning Valley,” said Justin Mondok, co-founder of the organization.

The purpose is to show people all of the positive benefits of moving to the Valley.

“A lot of times, there’s a lot of emphasis and focus on how many people leave our area. We want to show the value in coming here and why people found it to be a welcoming place and what made it welcoming for them,” Mondok said.

Anyone in the area can add their story to the project, even people who have lived here their whole life. But, they are hoping to hear from some newer residents as well.

“We want them to tell us that story in their own voice. Whether that’s in their native language or through different mediums, whether they’re comfortable writing a letter or doing a video piece, or just audio and talking to us. We want to share those stories with the broader community so people have an understanding of who their neighbors are, who their community members are,” Mondok said.

Once all the stories are collected, they will be displayed publicly for the community to view.

Thrive Mahoning Valley will be holding a welcome week from September 10-19. That’s when they’ll present the stories to the public at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor.

You can submit your story on their website,, or contact them if you need assistance. Submissions will be accepted until September 11.

Thrive Mahoning Valley was started in 2018 to help connect newer residents to people and communities in the Valley. One major reason for the organization beginning was Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico, which caused many people to move to the area.

Thrive Mahoning Valley works to connect residents with resources they may need.

The organization has primarily worked in Youngstown and Warren, but stretches all over Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer and Columbiana counties.

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