Posted on June 27, 2018 Posted By: Marina Van RenssenCategories: CYRE The youth group went to Beards Fork, WV through the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) to volunteer with theSouthern Appalachian Labor School (SALS) for a week. You can view a gallery of photos, below: The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, WV We slept on the floor in their sanctuary Dinner Dinner We watched Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” episode about West Virginia. Many locals feel it portrays WV in a more realistic and positive light. Sunday service at the UU Congregation of Charleston Some of our youth participated in the service The dorm next to the Beards Fork School was our home for the next five days. The school was purchased by SALS and provided after school services and a “Feed and Read” summer school program. Everyone signed up for shifts to prepare dinner and clean up the kitchen. Every evening we would have a discussion or reflection. On the first night we created our Covenant. Our UUCSJ program leaders helped coordinate our work shifts. One group organized the supplies closet at the Beards Fork School. This is the before picture. After! After organizing the closet and reading to the children at the Read and Feed program, the youth weeded the garden and greenhouse, which provide food to the community. Cleaning at Oak Hill School Free time = games Journaling Waiting at the Oak Hill School for our work assignments for the day. Some crews sanded and painted a woman’s front porch. Fixing the siding on the home. Painting Home repair Relaxing The town of Thurmond. Population: 4. The abandoned main street still had an active railroad track. Amtrak made a stop there three times a week. Billy Payne, a country singer, performed for the youth group and some community members. Line Dancing On another day a work crew cleaned out three rooms of the basement at Oak Hill School. We started on two more rooms but ran out of time. We were asked to mount a fire extinguisher on the side of a shelf with whatever materials we could fine. A local man showed some of the youth the watering hole where people jump off the train trellis into the creek. They had so much fun they went back a second time later in the week. The train trellis that we jumped off of. Watching the jumpers was just as much fun. The hollow (pronounced “holler”) of Beards Fork. We visited a coal camp and mine. We filled the classroom of a two-room school house. The New River Gorge Bridge is not impressive to drive over, but is gorgeous when seen from below. We rode into a coal mine and learned about the tools used in the industry. The black at the bottom of the wall is the coal seam. Reclaiming Mountains The chicken coop is on wheels because Refresh Appalachia rotates the animals pens in order to provide nutrients to the soil. There was still mining occuring close by, with a natural, undisturbed mountain top behind it. There was still mining occuring close by, with a natural, undisturbed mountain top behind it. Our last night, back in Charleston. We enjoyed an outdoor concert at the annual FestivALL in Charleston.