Welcome

 

 

 

 Be the change you wish to see!!!

Big Creek People In Action, Inc. was founded in 1990 by citizens of McDowell County, West Virginia. Since that time, this nonprofit organization has been serving the community of McDowell County in the realms of education and literacy, leadership development, volunteer service, service learning, arts and culture, housing, recreation, and collaborative partnerships. BCPIA's vision of McDowell County is one of empowered and self-sufficient people living in communities that are economically vibrant, democratic, and socially just. To learn more about the history of Big Creek People in Action, please Click Here!

 

 

Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby Community Baby Shower reaches many McDowell County families

 

Big Creek People in Action was the site for the Annual Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby Community Baby Shower on Thursday, April, 10.  Local organizations provided information, workshops, and resources to sixty-two families, serving seventy-three infants and toddlers up to age two.

 

Moms attending the event are required to attend workshops during the day to qualify for all the gifts they receive. This year, our workshop presenters were Stop the Hurt and Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention.  As April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the leaders of Stop the Hurt gave a presentation on recognizing and reporting child abuse. The workshops were very informative and eye opening for the moms.

 

Local community organizations also gave the mothers some valuable information about programs within our county that support a healthy child and home. Information topics ranged from health insurance, free books and early literacy, maternal infant health programs, child care options, and car seat safety and so much more.

 

At the end of the event, after a healthy lunch served to the mothers, they were treated to a variety of door prizes and gift baskets. This year’s event distributed twenty-two carseats and over 11,600 diapers to the moms, as well as baby hygiene items, strollers, sixty-two smoke detectors, etc.  Many moms came back inside to let us know how much the baby items were appreciated and needed.

 

This annual event is sponsored by the Healthy Lifestyles Program at Big Creek People in Action and the Southern Coalfields Tobacco Coalition. Funding for the shower is provided by UniCare Health Plan of WV, Cliffs Resources Foundation, United Methodist Churches, and the Family Dollar Foundation.  This year, we had many items donated as in-kind from Bluefield College, United Way of Southern WV, Americans Helping Americans, Little Sparrow Ministries, and community individuals.

 

 

Communities come together celebrating the opening of Coalfield Community Playground

 

Despite the wet weather, on Saturday, May 10,  eighty-seven people came out for the grand opening of the Coalfield Community Playground located at Atwell. The day began with a ribbon cutting ceremony and then the fun began…children played many different games and won lots of prizes and ate some delicious food. They also had the chance to win one of six bicycles donated by Kimball Walmart. Supporters of Coalfield Community Kids Day and the playground included: Big Creek People in Action’s Healthy Lifestyles Program, Cliffs Resources Foundation, and Grants Supermarket/War. Stevens Correctional Center allowed the road crew to help install equipment and cut brush for us on several different occasions. Organizers plan to make Coalfield Community Kids Day an annual event.

The playground, a project of Coalfield Community Action Group, had been in the works for two years. Although plans are to add more equipment and a concrete, fenced basketball court as funding allows, the playground is fully functional. It consists of several large pieces of equipment, swings, and other activities, including the baseball field which is used for children and adults. During the year, we expect the area to be used by well over five hundred people for games and playground use. The large shelter will also be used by the community for birthday parties and other events.

 

 

 

 BIG CREEK PEOPLE IN ACTION 2013 ANNUAL REPORT

 

            2013 was another successful year for Big Creek People in Action with many accomplishments and successes.  A major accomplishment was to have our Extra Cool Afterschool Program licensed by the WV Department of Health and Human Resources as an Out-of-School Time Child Care Center.  We met the many stringent requirements to be licensed and offer a great year-round program.  We placed a second Reading Coach at the McDowell County Career and Technology Center to accommodate their increased enrollment.  In collaboration with Community Crossing’s Parents as Teachers Program, we started the PlayPals play group for children age birth to five years old and their parents to learn through interactive play.  We were part of a pilot project through Community Works in West Virginia to do extensive renovations to one house to make it more energy efficient.  We worked with an architect to draw up the plans for an addition to the building to include a new Dining Hall, restrooms, and loading dock.  In the future, we will seek the funding needed to begin this project.

            Through these new projects as well as our established programs, Big Creek People in Action has remained a place of hope in the community.  We will continue to work to locate resources to help transform our communities into desirable places for people to live, work, and raise their families. 

During 2013, BCPIA provided 9,336 services to 5,406 people.  A total of 12,712  meals were served out of the Center and we coordinated 26,418 hours of service by 665 volunteers from inside and outside the area.

MISSION AND PURPOSE

 

Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) was formed in 1990 by local citizens working to bring about a brighter future in McDowell County, WV.  Our mission is to “foster a community in which people learn, work, play, and grow together and prepare themselves for success in the 21st century.”  Our vision of McDowell County is one of empowered and self-sufficient families living in communities that are democratic, socially just, and economically vibrant.   To accomplish our vision, BCPIA works with families and communities to link sustainable community development and economic opportunity with a broad vision for change.

STAFFING

 

            BCPIA has eight full-time staff members and four AmeriCorps members to carry out the day-to-day work of the Center.  All staff members are dedicated to the organization and have participated in various trainings and workshops throughout the year to improve their skills.

            We also had two summer interns that worked with afterschool this summer, three youth workers that worked on the Youth Connections employment program, and several volunteer staff placed here through the Department of Health and Human Resources.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

            BCPIA’s Board of Directors has eleven Board Members.  The Board’s purpose is to develop policies, procedures, and regulations for the operation of the organization, monitor finances, programs and performance, and maintain and update a long-range plan.  The Board meets quarterly to approve reports, evaluate programs, and to ensure that the organization is financially sound and is accomplishing its goals.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

 

            As part of the requirements of being funded by the WV Department of Health and Human Resources as a Family Resource Center in West Virginia, we must have an Advisory Council consisting of program participants, business leaders, and representatives from other organizations.   They meet quarterly to evaluate the Family Resource Center programs and services and to participate in the peer review process.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

 

            BCPIA partners with many organizations to offer needed services in the community.  Our organizational partners include LifeBridge AmeriCorps, who sponsor our AmeriCorps program; the local Department of Health and Human Resources, who provide volunteer staff; Workforce WV, who placed youth here in a three-month employment program; the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, who support our Family Resource Center; the McDowell County Board of Education, Southside K – 8, the McDowell County Career and Technology Center and the county Head Start centers, who allow us to work with their students; West Virginia Public Broadcasting, who work with us on education; Community Crossing’s Parents as Teachers program, who work with us on the PlayPals play group; Future Generations, who work with us on the Health Program; Americans Helping Americans, who send us new coats, blankets, shoes, etc. to distribute;  the Council of Southern Mountains and Mountaineer Food Bank, who work with us on hunger reduction; WVU Extension, who works with us on nutrition, cancer, and diabetes education; and Coalfield Community Action Group, who worked with us on the Atwell playground.

            We provide meeting space and prepare lunch for the Southern Highlands mental health patients and their workers.  We also provide meeting space for local coal mine classes and are the designated Emergency Response Center for three of the local coal mines in case of an accident.  We also collaborate with other organizations in the county through referrals for services that we do not provide.

FINANCES

 

            BCPIA continues to write grants to foundations and government sources, seek donations, sponsor various fundraising events, and host college and church volunteer groups to help secure the funding needed to support our programs and services.  We have several sources of in-kind income including AmeriCorps staff, who are provided by LifeBridges, volunteer staff through the Department of Health and Human Resources welfare-to-work program, work contributed by the college and church groups, and several thousand dollars of in-kind contributions of diapers, blankets, toys, household supplies, shoes, coats, etc. that we distribute to the community.

2013 FUNDING PARTNERS

 

Americans Helping Americans

Appalachian Community Fund

Bernard McDonough Foundation

Bike & Build

Cliffs Foundation

Community Works in WV

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

Dominion Foundation

Five Promises for Children Foundation

Future Generations

George Cruise Foundation

JFR Foundation

May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

Skewes Family Foundation

UniCare

W. K. Kellogg Foundation

WV Affordable Health Care

WV Dept. of Health & Human Resources

WV Development Office

WV Division of Culture & History

College and Church Groups

 

BUILDING REPAIRS AND UPGRADES

 

Ceramic Tile installed in new Dorm Room for future showers and restrooms

Three new dropped ceilings installed on 3rd floor

Installed twelve new light fixtures on 3rd floor and seven on the bottom floor

Maintenance and Laundry Room ceilings were dry-walled

Painted Afterschool Room and 3rd Floor Dorm Room

Installed new furnace motor

Repaired Reception Room doorway

Dismantled swing set

Installed new fire alarm Exit lights

Put new fire clay on furnace

Installed a new water heater and refrigerator

Re-routed drain lines in kitchen

Removed a leaking shower from the Men’s Dorm

 

EDUCATION/LITERACY PROGRAM

 

Afterschool

            One of our most rewarding programs is our afterschool program with 46 different students attending the program this year.  There are three teachers that work with them each day and parents have reported improvements in their children’s grades.  The program offers a full, nutritional meal, homework support, computer time, exercise, and transportation.  Good health habits are encouraged through having them brush their teeth, educating them on good nutrition habits, and taking them to the dentist for oral health check-ups. 

During the summer, the students were involved in a special project called T.R.A.V.E.L., which stands for Traditions, Research, Arts, Voices, Education, and Learning.   They learned about different cultures, food, art, and traditions and were assigned a new country every two weeks to research, study, and enjoy learning about.

During the summer and school breaks, they went on several different field trips including to a Native American Pow Wow, Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Tamarack, Bluefield City Park Christmas Light Display, the movies, swimming, trips to Berwind Lake, singing Christmas Carols at the Gary Nursing Home, and community playgrounds. 

In-School Tutoring

We have three AmeriCorps Reading Coaches that work 4 days per week in the schools and one that works with the Afterschool Program.  One Reading Coach works with students at Southside K – 8 and two work at the McDowell County Career and Technology Center to improve Reading and Math skills.  The participants at the elementary/middle school are identified by the school administration as requiring tutoring according to their scores on the Lexia Reading Computer Program.  Students at the vocational school are chosen by the results of the TABE Locater Test as well as referrals by teachers.  Students stay in the program until their test results have improved enough to exit the program.

Super Why Camp

BCPIA co-sponsored with West Virginia Public Broadcasting a very successful 4 week summer literacy camp.  Each week was held at a different community in the county and a total of 30 children attended the camps at Caretta, War, Bradshaw, and Welch.  Super Why was created to help children ages 3-6 learn to read through interactive storybook adventures. SUPER WHY features a team of literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig (with Alphabet Power), Wonder Red (with Word Power), Princess Presto (with Spelling Power), and Super Why (with the Power to Read).

 

AMERICORPS

 

Our four AmeriCorps members work with education and literacy.  Three work in the schools and one works with the afterschool program.  They also work with the Super Why literacy camp during the summer and attend monthly trainings.  During the year 2013, LifeBridge AmeriCorps members worked on the following projects:

Tutoring at Southside K – 8 and the McDowell Career and Technology Center

Working with the Afterschool Program

Sponsoring Read Alouds and literacy activities at Southside K-8 and War Cove, Endwell, and Big Sandy Head Start Centers

Working with West Virginia Public Broadcasting on the 4-week Super Why camp to teach young children to read

Dr. Seuss Read Across America

Family Fun Nights

Martin Luther King event

School Supply Giveaway

Sock Hop

Halloween Dance

Tree-planting ceremony

Honoring War Fire Department

HOUSING REHABILITATION

 

McDowell County reports the lowest standard of housing in the state of West Virginia, with age being the primary factor affecting the quality of housing.  Big Creek People in Action’s Housing Rehabilitation Program was established because many families in our area live in dilapidated, unsafe homes and don’t have the resources to make the needed repairs.  The mission of our Housing Rehabilitation Program is to efficiently enhance the quality of life of our low-income, disabled, and senior citizens through the rehabilitation of their homes to correct health and safety issues, improve accessibility, and provide them with a suitable living environment. In 2013, BCPIA served 208 individuals with housing rehabilitation services.  Types of assistance included installing new roofs, repairing other roofs, painting, several handicap ramps, vinyl siding, windows, insulation, plumbing, flooring repairs, bathroom repairs,  constructed steps and porches, installed doors, and replaced wiring.

College groups that visited during 2013 included:  Ball State University, University of Richmond, University of Notre Dame – 2 trips, Centre College – 2 trips, Emory and Henry College, Warren Wilson College – 2 trips, and Catawba College.  Church groups included Unitarian Universalist from Portsmouth, NH, New Town Baptist Church from Georgia, Sidwell Friends from Washington, D.C., Upshur Helping Hands from WV; Downingtown Friends Meeting Young Friends from PA, Unitarian Universalist from Columbia, MD, SS. Peter and Paul from New York, South Lexington, Red Bank, Smyrna, and Pine Grove Baptists Churches from SC, Harvest Church from SC, Christ United Methodist Church from PA, Otterbein United Methodist Church from Pennsylvania, and Berwick Academy from Maine. 

 

SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM

 

Service Learning is a method of teaching through which students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their communities.  Service Learning teaches the skills of civic participation and develops an ethic of service and civic responsibility.

            Students have a variety of service opportunities here from which to choose a meaningful placement.  Included are alternative college breaks, community service weekends, summer placements and internships, community and higher education linkages, and special events.

            We worked with two students from Emory and Henry College on a project to research funding sources.  An AmeriCorps member, sponsored through Christian Appalachian Project, was here part of the year as an intern. We also had two college students that worked as interns during the summer with the Afterschool Program.

COMPUTER LAB

 

Our computer lab offered free access to the internet and many specialized programs and learning activities to 178 people in 2013 to enable them to enhance their quality of life through access to information technologies.  Self-paced courses are offered to people of all age groups and skill levels.  The afterschool students regularly use the computer lab.  Volunteer staff placed here by the Department of Health and Human Resources use the lab for job searches, resume writing, and education. People can take beginning and advanced computer classes, life skills, job skills, G.E.D., driving tests, resume writing, financial information, and a variety of other topics.  There is always a teacher present to answer any questions and give individual help when needed.

HEALTHY LIFESTYLES PROGRAM

 

This year, we sponsored two major events-the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Community Baby Shower and the Senior Health Fair. In addition, we had many people attend health workshops including: diabetes, cooking and nutrition, breast cancer, drug overdose awareness, and more.  We sponsored Drug Take Back Day at Big Creek People in Action where people brought old prescription medicines and dropped them off to keep the drugs from making their way into the wrong hands. We partnered with the McDowell County Sheriff’s Dept. for this project and hope to make it an annual event. Work on the Coalfield Community Playground at Atwell continues, with a scheduled opening date in May 2014. 

Working with the WVU Extension in Welch, we educated people on nutrition and healthy cooking, took a trip to the grocery store to learn to shop healthy and to budget. and taught them about gardening fresh vegetable. The ladies were then given seeds, tomato and pepper plants, and lots of recipes for fresh vegetables.

Another component of the Healthy Lifestyles Program this year was to assist enrolling people without medical insurance into the Medicaid program. A mini grant was successfully submitted to West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare and enrollment began in November and will continue through early 2014.

A trip to Charleston for McDowell County Day at the Legislature helped spread the word about the serious problem that plagues our county – drug overdose deaths.  The Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator went to the courthouse and studied death records back to 2007 and made record of all listed as overdose or death due to drug use. These results were made into a display that county and state officials were able to view in Charleston. The results were staggering to most of those attending and the McDowell County Sheriff even borrowed the display to use in his presentation before elected officials which centered around needing help to fight the drug problems in our area.

PARENT / FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES

 

As a Family Resource Center, all of our programs provide support to families through education and providing needed services. 

In partnership with Community Crossing’s Parents as Teachers program, Big Creek People in Action started a “Play Pals” play group this year for children ages birth to five years old and their caregivers. These playgroups give the parents the opportunity to share parenting tips and learn new skills and activities to aid in their child’s development.

 Educational activities have included working with different textured, weighted, and sized balls, bubbles, brush painting with Kool-Aid, finger painting with pudding, dress up play, making and playing with different types of puppets, and sidewalk chalk.   Guest speakers and presenters have participated including a speech therapist that showed useful toys to use when working on children’s early speech development.

Positive Parenting leads to a happier, healthier child living in a loving and nourishing environment.  So often we see neglected and/or abused children in our communities where the parents have so many issues that the children are raising themselves, often going hungry, out at all hours of the night, and falling into situations of abuse and drug use. Several parents have taken the Parenting Wisely Computer Course to help them develop positive parenting skills. This year we have also offered workshops on breastfeeding, danger in the medicine cabinet, nutritious snacks for toddlers, healthy meals for families, and making homemade baby food.  More information and workshops were available at the Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby Community Baby Shower.  Hundreds of bags of baby diapers and other baby supplies were distributed throughout the year.

Our staff have attended Parent Leadership Trainings to learn how to better involve our families with our programs and to give them leadership roles.

With help from Americans Helping Americans and others, we help families with basic needs through distributions of food, diapers, shoes, coats, blankets, and school supplies.  We help people from the community and those placed here by DHHR to prepare resumes and search for jobs.  We have prepared emergency food boxes for families that we work with who are in need of food.  We help families find needed services that we do not provide by making referrals to other organizations for furniture, clothing, appliances, help with utility bills, etc.   In case of an emergency, we are a designated Disaster Shelter.

SPECIAL EVENTS

 

            BCPIA hosts many special events throughout the year that support education, family events, entertainment, and holiday observances.  These events give families a chance to spend quality time together in a wholesome atmosphere.  Events during 2013 included the following:

            Spring CarnivalAfter a long, hard, winter, people are ready to come out and have some fun in a family environment.  Emory and Henry College students helped to financially support the Carnival and run the games.  Fun games, good food, and great prizes were enjoyed by all.

            Healthy Mom / Healthy Baby Community Shower - This year’s baby shower, although smaller in number due to budget constraints, packed a lot of information for expectant mothers and mothers with children up to age three. Over twenty organizations gave out valuable information about programs and the moms attending also sat through workshops about car seat safety, lead poisoning, immunizations, smoking during pregnancy and smoking around babies and children, prenatal visits, and more. For the past ten years, Big Creek People in Action has held a community baby shower that is both informative and fun.  Parents received diapers, baby wipes, lotions, smoke detectors, baby clothing, car seats, and more.

            Mountain Music FestivalShowcasing local talent and giving the community a day and night of free family-style entertainment is what this festival is all about.  We sold great home-cooked foods and staged carnival games and raffles.  Hundreds of people enjoyed the music from the parking lot, gymnasium, and even the Coal Museum located on the first floor, including those who were in front of the stage flat footing and dancing the night away.  Great fun for everyone …. and admission, as always, is free.

            Senior Health Fair - The first annual Senior Health Fair was a successful event filled with health information from a variety of McDowell County organizations. Seniors attending the event were able to get eye screenings from the Lions Club mobile unit, flu shots, blood pressure and glucose readings, and much more. Many local senior attended and the McDowell County Commission on Aging bused their senior groups to the event as well. They were treated to a hot, healthy lunch. Afterward, they got to play Bingo for some really great prizes, which is always a hit with the crowd.

            Diversity Day / Senior Citizen CelebrationFor the second time, the McDowell County Board of Education allowed students from Southside K – 8 to be bussed here and participate in the Diversity Day Celebration to promote and celebrate our heritage and the diversity found in our coal camps.  The gym is full of displays of artifacts, information, and foods from many different cultures throughout the world.  We always invite the area senior citizens to participate in this event and speak about their heritage.

            Community Christmas Activities - With a lot of help from churches from South Carolina, Gateway Community Church from Virginia, Warren Wilson College, and a lot of generous people, Christmas was made a little brighter for many children, families, and seniors who attended our annual Christmas Parties.  Because of the increased number of people to be served, we had four parties this year, serving 647 people.  Each child and senior received gifts, treat bags from Santa, children picked out gifts for their Mom and Dad, received a shoe box of goodies prepared by Warren Wilson College, all families received food boxes, and everyone enjoyed a hot Christmas meal.  We served another 256 people with gifts after the party including the War and Endwell Head Start Centers.

            Big Creek High School Alumni PromWe were proud to host the 4th Annual Big Creek Alumni Prom in May for all people who graduated from Big Creek High School.  People enjoyed great food, a video presentation from yearbooks, music, dancing, and a great night out with old friends.

BCPIA sponsored or participated in many other special events during 2013 including:

McDowell County Day at the Legislature

Workshops on Dining with Diabetes, Breast Exams, PBS Snack Workshop, Gun Violence Safety in Schools, Drug Abuse, Nutrition Workshops, and Breast Cancer

Read Alouds at Southside K-8, War Cove Head Start, Endwell Head Start, and Big Sandy Head Start

Sock Hop

Drug Take Back Day

Parent workshops at the Center, Kimball, Iaeger, and Southside

Magic Show

Family Fun Nights

Coats, blankets, diapers, food, hygiene kits, and shoe Giveaways

County Drug Free Day at Mount View High School

Head Start Spring Fling

Rocket Launch in honor of West Virginia’s 150th Birthday

Showing of the “Hollow” documentary

Just Connections Workshop at Center

Bible school sponsored by South Carolina churches

Head Start Trick-or-Treating at Center

Afterschool float in the War Christmas Parade (Won 3rd Place)

Afterschool sang carols and distributed gift bags at Gary Nursing Home

Book Bag/ School Supply Giveaway at Southside Social

Free Haircuts provided by a beautician with a church group

McDowell County Expo

Halloween Dance

 

CONCLUSION

 

            We are proud of our accomplishments but realize that there is more work to be done.  We would not be able to continue to offer our services without the generous support of many organizations and people who believe in our cause to create fundamental change in the area.  Together, we are making a difference, one family at a time.

 

“Whenever I hear the word war, as related to Iraq and Afghanistan, I now think of a small, heartwarming town in West Virginia.  “Going to War’ is now my idea of going to a home away from home, not a battlefield.”      Quote from Elizabeth Zeese, Ball State University student who visited the Center this year.

 

Download 2013 Annual Report (PDF)

 

 

         AmeriCorps Halloween Dance

 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

7:00 pm until Midnight

 

Wear your costume and scare up some fun at the Halloween Dance! 

Music, Dancing, Costume Contests, and Refreshments for Ages 5 – 14!

$3.00 Admission

For More Information, Call (304) 875-3418

 

 

Big Creek People in Action sponsors Senior Health Fair

 

The Healthy Lifestyles Program at Big Creek People in Action recently sponsored a Senior Health Fair at the Caretta Community Center.   Forty-three seniors visited many county and state organization’s booths and received a wealth of health information.  Organizations informed the seniors about the following topics: diabetes, prostate and breast health, blood pressure, smoking, nutrition, senior aging services, black lung, colon cancer, exercise, drug abuse, and free screenings were performed for blood pressure, and flu shots and eye exams were given.

Everyone enjoyed a healthy lunch and as an added bonus, the seniors got to play bingo for lots of nice prizes.  For more information about the Healthy Lifestyles Program and its upcoming diabetes and nutrition classes, please contact Annetta Tiller at 304-875-3418

 

 

AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM LICENSED

 

Big Creek People in Action is proud to announce that our “Extra Cool Afterschool Hangout” program is the first and only Out-of-School Time Child Care Center to be licensed in McDowell County.  The program is licensed under the Department of Health and Human Resources and we must follow strict guidelines in the care of the children.  The program offers a full, nutritious meal, homework support, exercise, computer time, and transportation home.  

 

SECOND QUARTER 2013 REPORT

 

We served 2,460 people this quarter, including 1,209 adults and 1, 251 children.  Events during this quarter included the Spring Carnival, Community Baby Showers, 3 food giveaways, Big Creek High School Alumni Prom, Mountain Music Festival, Rocket Launch in Honor of WV’s 150th Birthday, and a showing of the “Hollow” documentary,

which is about McDowell County.  Also, AmeriCorps members had a hot dog sale and we set up displays at the Drug Free Day in Welch and the Head Start Spring Fling.  The afterschool students and teachers went on a field trip to the Beckley Mine Exhibition and Tamarack.

 

Meetings attended by staff included the DHHR Community Collaborative, DHHR meeting at Lakeview, DHHR billing training, 3 meetings with Emory & Henry students, 2 community health trainings, two organizational meetings for the new Play Pals play group, Board of Directors meeting, Advisory Council meeting, two trainings on energy-saving housing rehabilitation, AmeriCorps training, meeting with Tina Faber from DHHR, and a meeting with an architect on a building improvement project.

 

Workshops organized by us for the community were five nutrition workshops, a Drug Overdose Workshop in War, two parenting classes, and the Just Connections college collaborative two-day meeting at BCPIA.

 

We’ve had several groups stay here to work on housing rehabilitation.  During this time period we’ve had two college groups and 6 church groups including Centre College and Emory & Henry College; also Unitarian Universalist South Church from New Hampshire, New Town Baptist Church from Georgia, Sidwell Friends from Washington, DC, Upshur Helping Hands from WV, Downington Friends Meeting Friends from Pennsylvania, and Unitarian Universalist Church from Columbia.  Additional groups will be coming in July and August.

 

23 children participated in the afterschool program this quarter, which runs from 11:00 am  until 4:00 pm during the summer months.  They took field trips which included several trips to Berwind Lake, the Marquee Movie Theater in Welch, a visit to ride horses, a visit to a farm to see real alligators, and a trip to the Beckley Mine Exhibition and Tamarack.  The program offers a full, nutritious meal, educational support, exercise, computer time, and transportation to and from the center.  This summer they have been involved in a special project called T.R.A.V.E.L. , which stands for Traditions, Research, Arts, Voices, Education, and Learning.  The students are taking (virtual) airplane trips to the countries to learn different cultures, food, art, and traditions.  A new country is assigned every two weeks to research, study, and enjoy learning about.

 

In collaboration with Community Crossings from Welch, a new play group was started here once a week for parents and their children birth to 5 years old.  Parents learn how to play and interact with their children in an educational and nurturing manner.

 

51 people used the computer lab this quarter, 100 elementary/middle school students were tutored as well as 55 students at the Vocational School.  64 people were served through housing rehabilitation including painting a church and extensive work on one house.  This is a special energy-saving project that will be funded by Community Works in WV.  Several groups have completed different projects at the house, which is not finished yet.

 

2012 Education/Literacy Program

 

One of our greatest successes and most rewarding program we have is our afterschool program.  39 kids have participated in our year-round program with an average attendance of 16 kids per day.  There are 3 teachers that work with them each day and parents have reported that the children’s grades have been improving.  We also have Afterschool during the summer months and were able to take them on a few field trips. 

 

We have Reading Coaches that work 4 days a week in the schools.  One Reading Coach works with students at the vocational school and another works with elementary students at Southside K-8 to improve reading and academic skills.  Another Reading Coach works with the Afterschool program.  They all work with the afterschool program and Super Why camp during the summer months.  The literacy camp is held for four weeks and each week is held at a different community in the county.  A total of 45 children attended the camp.

 

LifeBridge AmeriCorps and VISTA members have worked on the following projects in 2012:

 

Tutoring at Southside K-8 and the McDowell Career and Technology Center

Working with the Afterschool program

Literacy activities at Southside K-8 school; War Cove, Endwell, Big Sandy, and    Raysal Head Start Centers; and the War and Welch Libraries

4-Week Super Why Summer Literacy Camp at Caretta, War, Bradshaw, & Welch

Make a Difference Day

Dr. Seuss Read Across America

Family Fun Nights

School Supply Giveaway

Hop on Pop Youth Dance

Martin Luther King Event

Operation Remembrance (Working with other LifeBridge members to prepare 500 care packages for soldiers overseas

 

 

2012 Housing Rehabilitation

 

McDowell County reports the lowest standard of housing in the state of West Virginia, with age being the primary factor affecting the quality of housing. Sixty-seven percent of the houses were built before 1940 and  half are rated below normal quality levels, but many people don’t have the resources to make the needed repairs.

 

In 2012, BCPIA served 132 individuals with housing rehabilitation services plus hundreds of others with special community projects including painting and repairing the War Public Library playground, cleaning a gymnasium for a Southside K-8 school event, and projects at our Center including painting, installing sheetrock, repairing floors in shower stalls, and installing two dropped ceilings.  In addition to the special projects, 67 work projects were completed on 41 homes with the help of 342 volunteers.   Types of assistance included installing 4 new roofs, repairing other roofs, painting, several handicap ramps, vinyl siding, windows, insulation, plumbing, new bridge built over a creek, flooring repairs, bathroom repairs, and others.

 

College groups that visited during 2012 included:  University of Richmond, Emory and Henry College, two trips by University of Notre Dame, University of North Carolina – Wilmington, Centre College, Warren Wilson College, Berea College, Adrian College, and Davidson College. Church groups included:  Upshur Helping Hands from West Virginia, Sidwell Friends from Washington, DC, Christ United Methodist Church from Yorkana, PA, Saints Peter & Paul Church, from Hamburg, New York, Red Bank Baptist Church, Convent Baptist Church, South Lexington Baptist Church, Samaria Baptist Church, and Smyrna Baptist Church from South Carolina, Unitarian Universalist Church from Alexandria, VA, and Unitarian Universalist Church from New Hampshire.

 

2012 Service Learning Program

 

Service Learning is a method of teaching through which students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their communities. Service Learning teaches the skills of civic participation and develops an ethic of service and civic responsibility.

 

Students have a variety of service opportunities here from which to choose a meaningful placement. Included are alternative college breaks, community service weekends, summer placements and internships, community and higher education linkages, and special events.

 

2012 Computer Lab

 

Our computer lab offered free access to the Internet and many specialized programs and learning activities to 82 people in 2012 to enable them to enhance their quality of life through access to communications and information technologies. Future Generations helped to set up the lab that offers self-paced courses to people of all age groups and skill levels, whatever their technology needs are. They can access information on life skills, driving tests, beginning and advanced computer skills, job skills, financial information, and a variety of other courses. There is always a teacher present to answer any questions and give individual help when needed.

 

Ten youth participated in the one-week Tech Camp in the Computer Lab to learn about technology.  Activities at camp gave them opportunities to use digital photo cameras and learn new software to turn their photos into creative projects. Activities included photo scavenger hunts and lessons on digital drawing, photo editing, and video game animation.   The computer lab staff demonstrated the components of a computer and then let the children take apart a computer and assemble it together again. 

 

We added three lap top computers to the lab this year to better accommodate the afterschool program.

 

 

2012 Healthy Lifestyles Program

 

In collaboration with Future Generations, we started the CHERP program this year to help community members gain access to health care and develop a healthier lifestyle.  Big Creek People in Action’s Healthy Lifestyles Program challenges participants to take better care of their body through proper diet and exercise, smoking cessation, health checkups, and more. Youth in the afterschool program exercise 30 minutes each day to combine fun and fitness as they play games that require them to move and get their heart rates pumping.   Community members have attended a variety of workshops on many topics including diabetes management, prenatal and early childhood care, drug abuse awareness, nutrition, and more.

 

 

2012 Special Events

 

Big Creek People in Action hosts many special events throughout the year that support education, family events, entertainment, and holiday observances. These events give families a chance to spend quality time together in a wholesome atmosphere. Events during 2012 included the following:

 

Annual Spring Carnival – Who doesn’t like an old fashioned carnival with twenty-five cent games and plenty of great prizes and food? The Spring Carnival held each year in April, gives the community an opportunity to have some fun in a family environment. There were many activities for the young and the old. Emory and Henry College students helped to financially support the Carnival and run the games.  139 people came to the Caretta Community Center to enjoy this year’s event.

 

Healthy Mom / Healthy Baby Shower – Twenty-five mothers or mothers-to-be participated in workshops to provide them with health and wellness information to help them before and after the birth of their children. They enjoy a luncheon and each receives gift bags with a variety of supplies such as diapers, baby hygiene needs, and other useful items.

 

Diversity Day / Senior Celebration – For the first time, the McDowell County Board of Education allowed school students from Southside K-8 to be bussed here and participate in the Diversity Day Celebration to promote and celebrate our heritage and the diversity found in our coal camps. The gym is full of displays of artifacts, information, and foods from many different cultures throughout the world. We always invite the area senior citizens to participate in this event and speak about their heritage.

 

Mountain Music Festival – Showcasing local talent and giving the community a day and night of free family-style entertainment is what this festival is all about. We sold great home-cooked foods and staged carnival games and raffles. Hundreds of people enjoyed the music from the parking lot, gymnasium, and even the Coal Museum located on the first floor, including those who were in front of the stage flat footing and dancing the night away. Great fun for everyone… and admission, as always, was free.

 

Annual Community Christmas Activities – With a lot of help from three Baptist Churches from South Carolina, a church from Virginia, and many other generous people, Christmas was made a little brighter for many children, families, and seniors who attended our annual Christmas Parties. Over 564 people attended the three parties on December 7th.  Each child and senior received gifts, children picked out gifts to give their mom and dad, all families received food boxes, and everyone enjoyed a hot Christmas meal.   We hosted a separate Christmas Party for the War and Endwell Head Start Centers as well as a party for our afterschool kids.

 

Big Creek High School Alumni Prom – We were proud to host the 3rd Annual Big Creek Alumni Prom in August for all people who graduated from Big Creek High School.  People enjoyed great food, a video presentation from yearbooks, music, dancing, and a great night out with old friends.

 

BCPIA sponsored a variety of other events throughout the year including:  

 

Two Barter Theatre Productions

Family Fun Nights

Free Hair Cuts by a beautician with a work group

Book Bag / School Supply Giveaway at Southside K – 8

Workshops on Drug Abuse, Breast Health, Dental Hygiene, Parenting, Cyber Bullying,   Nutrition, Children’s Health, and Diabetes

Coats, Blankets, Diapers, Hygiene Kits, Shoes, and Socks Giveaway

Food Boxes distributed to 60 Veterans

Youth Lock-In

Veteran’s Appreciation Dinner

Tal Stanley’s Book Signing

Haunted House

 

 

TECH CAMP

 

In collaboration with Future Generations Graduate School, BCPIA hosted a one-week technology camp in July for area youth. Each of the 10 participants increased their computer skills and learned about technology.

Activities at the camp gave them opportunities to use digital photo cameras and learn new software to turn their photos into creative projects. Activities included photo scavenger hunts and lessons on digital drawing, photo editing, and video game animation.  

The computer lab staff demonstrated the components of a computer and then let the children take apart a computer and assemble it together again.  The children learned a lot and took some beautiful photographs, which are hanging on our Computer Lab wall.

 

SUPER WHY SUMMER LITERACY CAMPS

 

    BCPIA co-sponsored with West Virginia Public Broadcasting a very successful 4 week summer literacy camp.  Each week was held at a different community in the county and a total of 45 children attended the camp.

 

    Super Why was created to help children ages 3-6 learn to read through interactive story adventures. SUPER WHY features a team of literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig (with Alphabet Power), Wonder Red (with Word Power), Princess Presto (with Spelling Power), and Super Why (with the Power to Read).

 

    SUPER WHY focuses on reading fundamentals. A comprehensive literacy curriculum incorporates key skills identified by the National Reading Panel: letter identification, word decoding, phonemic awareness, word encoding and phonics and reading comprehension.

 

SUPER WHY's signature educational approach includes:

promoting books as a resource for solving problems kids face in preschool and in life

interactivity that facilitates practice and learning

seamless integration of story and literacy content

 

    In each episode, the Super Readers experience a preschool-related problem, fly into a book to find the answer and apply what was learned to resolve the problem.

 

    Camp activities reinforce knowledge through repetition and multiple modes of learning — art, music, movement, dance and games — and also use multiple media types, including CD's, DVDs, worksheets, and more. Camp attendees showed significant improvement (at the 95% significance level) in their literacy skills thanks to this multimedia approach.

 

    The SUPER WHY Reading Camps build on the signature early literacy approach of the popular SUPER WHY television series, extending its unique interactive reading approach into the community. Each day at Reading Camp, children transform into one of the SUPER WHY characters and take part in reading-based, branded SUPER WHY crafts, games, and songs that practice the targeted early literacy skill of the day: Monday–letter identification, Tuesday—rhyming with word families, Wednesday—letter sounds and spelling, and Thursday—vocabulary and comprehension. On Friday, families are invited to join the campers in celebrating the accomplishments of the week.

 

    During each week of camp, campers watch a SUPER WHY episode (the same episode all week) and then engage in a variety of interactive early literacy activities that build on the literacy skills taught in the episode. Each day of the Reading Camp follows the same sequence of activities, but every day has a particular reading skill focus.

 

    Children received extra resources to take home with them every day.  Research has shown that the literacy attitudes and practices in the home are instrumental in helping children become successful readers. Three informational handouts shared these findings with parents and encourage them to enjoy books with their children, visit the library together, and include their kids in their everyday reading and writing activities.

 

Big Creek People in Action offers a variety of Positive Parenting Workshops   

 

    During early spring and well into the summer months, BCPIA will offer workshops for parents on many different topics.  We realize that no-one can be that “perfect mom or dad” and we all can use some guidance or have some questions. This is why we will have knowledgeable trainers offer workshops discussing things such as:  Caring for and/or recognizing the signs of Drug Addicted Children; Medicine or Candy-Can your child tell the difference?; Time Management for new moms; Child Abuse and Neglect; Child Sexual Abuse; Shaken Baby Syndrome; and so much more.

 

    Feedback from many of the workshops that have already passed was very positive. Parents walk away with a lot of information and are ready to attend other workshops. “ I always try to offer incentives for the parents to attend the workshops.  I have distributed diapers, parent gift bags, new shoes, smoke detectors, and more. The gifts are an added bonus, and we want the parents to attend for the information, not just for gifts.”

 

    We invite you to attend upcoming workshops. For more information, contact Annetta Tiller at 304-875-3418.

     

Contact Information:                  

 

Big Creek People in Action, Inc.                           

HC 32 Box 541

War, WV 24892

Ph. (304) 875-3418

Fax: (304) 875-3518

Email: bcpia3418@netscape.net