RAIL VISTA Leads Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Event in Mullens

January 18, 2010

Left to Right: Cynthia Wildfire of ECRR, Katheryn Prussia of RAIL and Danny Allgeier of ECRR

RAIL VISTA Katheryn Prussia lead a project that brought together the OSM/VISTAs working in the Mullens Opportunity Center, for the organizations of ECRR, UGWA, and Friends of Milam Creek, to bring a visual display to the students titled “A Walk Through Time: Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2010”. The display consisted of a time line of events, photos, and facts in lower hallway of the school. The grassroots organizations collaborated with Mr. Sid Bradford, the principal of Mullens Middle School, as well as Ms. Eva Crider, a history teacher at the school, to create a visual project to obtain the interest of the target audience, consisting of the students at the middle school. The project produced by the VISTAs was a walking photo and story gallery, addressing different disciplines of the humanities, with a strong draw to history including African American, U.S., and that of the Appalachian Coalfields. In addition to those, the other disciplines the project will be directed toward are law, with a focus in the development and change of racial laws, and visual art.

Katheryn Prussia of RAIL contacted graphic designer Jeremy White, of The Sidereus Brothers, and partnered with him to provide the VISTAs with a poster for the event. He donated the design to the project, and didn’t charge a penny; a $100.00 value. In addition to that partnership, the VISTAs contacted Gregory Carroll, a historian at the West Virginia State Archives, who specializes in African American history in the state. He donated three hours of his time to our research, aiding the VISTAs in finding information in the archives building at the capitol complex; valued at $105.00.

After assembling the display, the VISTAs left it in the hallway for the duration of a week. With Ms.Crider’s permission, the VISTAs were allowed to come to her classes on Friday the 22nd, and play a Trivia Baseball Game with the students. The VISTAs were allowed all of the classes for the day, totaling 7 periods, with approx. 125 students participating in the event. Their reaction was very telling. Some of the students were thrilled to not have to sit through a lecture that day, and were focused on the questions. Surprisingly enough, the 5th graders were the most accurate in answering the questions, and the most reactive when their “team” would score a “run” while the 8th graders, who were currently enrolled in West Virginia History, were the least interested in the game. The VISTAs, as well as Ms. Crider, all agree that the event was a success.

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Volunteers are a vital part of RAIL's success. We are SEEKING VOLUNTEERS! Please contact us if you want to make a difference and join our remarkable work teams.

In September 2010 RAIL volunteers began initiating a plan to invigorate Community and Economic development in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. In the past ten years RAIL has studied the needs of families in Appalachia as well as available resources and other accessible opportunities that can help their community become sustainable. Gaining a better understanding of what is needed has culminated in the Coal Heritage Trail of New Commerce Action Plan. Those implementing this plan, an organization at the grass roots, well understand their work cannot be successful without the help of volunteers and generous resources providers. Anyone interested in participating in this bold undertaking of helping families living in the Appalachian coalfields improve their economic and social conditions may contact mullensproject@aol.com for more information. RAIL gets its name from Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. and can best be described as Volunteers coming together as an organization to find ways to best benefit their community

March 18, 2011

Alternative Spring Break
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