Each year since 2010 the Appalachian RC&D is supported by a VISTA from Conservation Stewards (formerly Appalachian Coal County Team).
VISTAs serve full time with us and their passion and skills are invaluable to the workings of the ARC&D. In 2011 when Congressional budget cuts practically overnight left us with no staff support, AmeriCorps VISTA was there to keep the organization going along with Board Member volunteers.
Not only that, VISTAs give back to the community, through the ARC&D, on issues that the community has identified as important. They write grants, put on events and workshops, consult with (and learn from ) farmers, run marketing campaigns for local food, run youth educational programs. They have impacted thousands of lives over the more than 10,000 hours that we calculate VISTAs have volunteered since 2010. Continuing to support federal funding for the Corporation for National & Community Service is essential and a well-spent efficient government program.
AmeriCorps VISTA (“Volunteers in service to America”) is the national service program that works to eliminate poverty. The first VISTAs began serving in 1965 in the migrant farm worker camps in California, the hollows of eastern Kentucky, and the inner city of Hartford, CT. Since then, more than 180,000 VISTAs have served throughout America to expand the capacity of homegrown efforts to address community challenges. Visit www.vistacampus.org to learn more about the VISTA program.
The mission of Conservation Stewards is to assist rural communities impoverished by environmental degradation and its consequences in making their home-place-watersheds healthier places to live and work. It is funded by an innovative partnership among the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), concerned with environmental reclamation; AmeriCorps VISTA; and by local community improvement/watershed groups.
Following the devastating 1998 and 2002 floods in Carter and Greene, the Appalachian RC&D was able to partner with communities to bring in two NCCC Disaster Relief Teams. This was 10,000 hours of volunteer help — moving and clearing away trees and debris, trash pick up, rebuilding some structures. NCCC stands for National Civilian Community Corps and it is a temporary full-time, team-based residential program for adults age 18–24. To learn more about NCCC visit here.
Appalachia CARES Volunteers
For a decade, the ARC&D hosted talented young adults wanting to give back to their community through the Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps program. These folks served an estimated 10,000 hours of volunteer service, much of which was focused on Youth. Teaching kids about wise environmental stewardship, recycling, water quality, forestry, recreation, building the Quilt Trail.
The Clinch Powell RC&D hosts our region’s Appalachia CARES Program, which remains active in the region, especially supporting environmental, arts, and history nonprofits. For more information: http://www.clinchpowell.net/node/10