Appalachia has long been seen as the epicenter of the War on Poverty. Since President Johnson declared an unconditional war on poverty in America, Appalachia has held special significance in the national effort. The official definition of Appalachia also formed in the early 1960's, as regional governors encouraged the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to assist their mountain counties, where one in three residents lived in poverty. The resulting legislation, the Appalachian Regional Development Act, added a unique, place-based dimension to the War on Poverty.
Government programs are one response, but what can a community do for itself? What is true self-reliance? You will be engaged with community members who are interested to share their experience and invite you into their community life.
This program has the potential benefit of touching participants with a deep sense of the authenticity and significance of the Appalachian Mountains and the people who live there. The real service comes in the breaking of old ideas and stereotypes about people from Appalachia. Additionally, there is a service rendered by better understanding the global effort to balance the needs of humanity with the needs of the Earth.