Service Work Program
Each year we assist families in need through our Service Work program. College, church and civic groups come to the Folklife Center to learn about Appalachia while performing volunteer work for folks in our area facing hard times. This program helps people with their home repair needs and provides other community service to non-profit and grassroots organizations. The program also allows our volunteers to learn about Appalachian heritage and culture. They gain valuable teamwork and leadership skills at the same time.
Download an informational packet for this program. HERE:
Each year, Appalachian South Folklife Center hosts volunteer groups to come and perform various community service projects in the area. Some of the work we do is simple home repairs for those in need including interior or exterior painting, porch repair, yard work and basic carpentry. We strive to help as many people as possible but due to time constraints, group size and skill, and material availability some or all of the applicants may not receive this service. After receiving your application a member of our staff will review it and be in contact if your home meets the criteria set forth by the center. Work groups begin to arrive in March so please send in your application as soon as possible so we may add you to our list.
HERE: to download an application for our Home Repair Program.
Programs and Education
Learning Day Camp
We do this in a caring and professional way that is unique in our area. We are unlike other educational opportunities in our region for four main reasons:
1) We are a nonprofit organization and our camp is offered for free to any camper who wants to attend. Therefore, we target the students who need us the most.
2) We are non-denominational and celebrate diversity while setting a standard of tolerance and harmony without the use of specific religious initiative.
3) We successfully and professionally combine academics and creativity that reach and teach students of all academic levels. We offer all the traditional camp activities while also presenting a dynamic thematic curriculum that meets West Virginia curriculum goals and covers all the academic disciplines. Children of all levels and learning styles flourish in our supportive and stimulating environment.
4) We are a dynamic community effort that includes people of all ages and backgrounds. This is inclusive of but not limited to: a) children of Mercer and Summers Counties, ages 4-12, who have been labeled as at-risk by their teachers, parents, and/or community members for academic and/or socioeconomic reasons, b) teen counselors who act as mentors to campers, learn leadership skills, and experience service learning that they can use to build job skills, receive scholarships for college, and/or gain experience in the social work/ education fields, c) staff members who wish to continue their careers using their skill sets and give back to their community, d) families that seek out a positive and affordable experience that all members of the family can participate in and enjoy.
Significance and Particular Benefit to the Community:
According to The Child Welfare League of America, approximately 25% of West Virginia’s families are living below the poverty line. According to Kids Count data center, a national foundation that aims to ensure the wellbeing of children across the nation, approximately 30% of Mercer County’s children fall below the poverty line. Mercer County ranked 49th out of 55 counties in child wellbeing, with WV ranking 43rd in the nation. With these staggering statistics in mind, Learning Day Camp strives to offer free cultural, educational, social opportunities to any child who falls into these categories. It is really special for these children to have the opportunity to participate by going on field trips and doing other fun summer activities that they could not otherwise afford. Learning Day Camp offers free healthy lunches and snacks daily. This is especially important considering that approximately 65% of the children in both Mercer and Summers Counties are either free or reduced lunch (Kids Count, 2010).
Many of our campers come back as counselors and/or staff members during or after college. This is a powerful full circle benefit to our camp.