Supercalifragilistexpialidocioius!

Supercalifragilistexpialidocioius!

We know there are hundreds of thousands of kids in Appalachia who are bright and eager to learn. But too often they become discouraged by parents, many who are high school dropouts themselves and never earned a GED, who don’t encourage them to work hard and succeed in the classroom.They don’t take the time to read to their children at a young age, and never help them with their homework even if they could. And they don’t commend their children for bringing home good grades…and don’t admonish them to try harder when they bring home D’s and F’s on their report card.In the classroom, with as many as 30 or more other classmates, no matter how dedicated their teacher is, it’s impossible for students who are struggling to get the individualized attention they need to understand what’s in their textbooks and on the chalkboard.That’s where we come in.

Working with our partners who offer afterschool programs, such as Big Creek People in Action in McDowell County, West Virginia, the lives of many children are transformed where they receive the one-on-one tutoring they need to help them keep up with their classmates.On elementary school girl, Brittany, told us how she was doing well in all her classes, except math – and how to divide fractions (something that likely challenges many adults as well).However, when she informed her tutor at BCPIA it was a concept she just couldn’t comprehend, she received the individualized attention she needed and within a couple of hours she had mastered it and was solving problems with ease.
“Now I fly right through it,” Brittany told us.

Who knows what would’ve happened if she had fallen behind in school, and then in class after class, grade after grade, year after year she continued to fall further and further behind until she simply gave up, becoming a teenage high school dropout with no hope for anything better than a minimum wage job at best in her future.But thanks to our supporters, Brittany, who is now in high school, and many others just like her received the encouragement they need to not give up and drop out and are told “Good job!” when they proudly show off their report cards with all A’s.We had the opportunity to meet Brittany a few years ago during a visit to BCPIA who told us about her 11-hour days – leaving home at 8 a.m. to catch the school bus, in class until around 4 p.m. when she would go to the BCPIA afterschool program and not getting home until about 7 p.m., making for a very long day for her and many others just like her.“Yeah, but it’s amazing,” she commented.

She also told us how much she enjoys the afterschool program at BCPIA where she and her classmates not only receive tutoring, snacks and a hot meal and even have fun doing their homework together.

This past fall we were thrilled to hear from BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson how well Brittany and her younger brother David are doing. Marsha was hosting a baby shower for Mary, one of the women who works in the afterschool program, “when I overheard a comment that went straight to my heart.” Mary had invited Brittany to come to the baby shower, and as she was handing the presents to her a lady made a comment to Brittany about how helpful she was.“Brittany thanked them and went on to say how much she loved Mary AND Big Creek People in Action,” Marsha said. “She said both her and her brother loved it here and all of the people here.“The lady asked her why she loved it so much and Brittany became very quiet for a moment (very unusual occurrence – ha!) and finally answered and said, ‘I would have to say because we were always made to feel very welcome here.’”

Marsha said she thought about Brittany’s answer that night and it made her heart warm.“How wonderful that we do that and how wonderful that those children feel that way,” she said. “I cannot think of a better thing we could do for those children.
“Feeding them is fantastic, listening to them is fantastic, helping them with their homework is fantastic – but making them feel welcome while doing those things is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!!!!“The feeling of WELCOME encompasses so many things: you feel safe, you feel comfortable, you feel liked and most of all – you feel wanted,” Marsha added. “I hope we make every single one of those young’uns feel that way because they are super special to us.”

These children are also “super special” to us as well and thanks to our supporters we are proud to be a partner instilling a love of education to all the young children who are fortunate enough to be able to attend BCPIA’s afterschool program yearning to learn and succeed in school, and in life.

A playground for the kids!

A playground for the kids!

Children in War, West Virginia have a reason to celebrate today and give thanks to our dedicated and determined partner there, Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA), a group of hardworking students from Adrian College in Michigan, and our own generous and loyal supporters.
 
“We have a local playground in War and the children were almost unable to utilize it,” Marsha Timpson, BCPIA co-executive director who organizes the groups of volunteers, told us. “It was really cold and windy but they went right out there and got the job done!”
 
Marsha explained that when it rained the playground would be “muddy and messy” and kids “couldn’t come down the slides because they literally ended up in a big mud hole.”
 
However, she added, as typical kids, and boys likely more so than girls, “The children would probably have been fine with this, to tell the truth, but the parents didn’t like it much!
 
“What a difference it made for that playground!” she added.
 
Today, we just want to pass along the gratitude from the children who now have a like-new playground, as in this case, a picture is truly worth a thousand thanks.
A much needed upgrade

A much needed upgrade

Roy, his wife, and their two adult sons are all disabled for one reason or another.

Living together in the small West Virginia community of Cucumber (pop. 94, and the only community in the U.S. with this name), Roy came to Americans Helping Americans® partner serving McDowell County, Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA), requesting help for their bathroom.

“They sure needed it,” BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson told us. “I don’t think I have ever encountered a bathtub in this condition. They have sulfur water and it is bad, but geez!

In March, volunteer college students from the Universities of Richmond and Notre Dame came in and tore out and replaced the flooring, replaced the ceiling and walls and installed a new tub along with new fixtures and plumbing as well.

 

When the job was completed, Marsha provided with the family with a supply of heavy-duty tub and shower cleanser designed to remove stubborn stains and mineral deposits and urged the family to use it at least once or twice a week.

“Hopefully, they will,” she commented.

A ramp for Jimmy

A ramp for Jimmy

Jimmy has now spent the last two West Virginia winters living in his truck, even though he owns what is technically a “house” in the tiny community of Shaft Holler.

But if our partner Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) co-executive director Marsha Timpson who serves the community there has anything to say about it, he has spent the last of his winters of surviving the frigid nights in his truck.

“We are doing our best to make sure he won’t spend third,” said Marsha, noting that Jimmy has diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments. “He is in a wheelchair and I can’t believe he made it through this harsh winter in that truck.”

In March, students from the University of Richmond descended on McDowell County and spent several days working on making his home habitable, as well as starting construction of a handicap ramp which will allow him to enter and exit his home with ease.

 

Although the house itself needs “A LOT OF WORK,” Marsha decided that the first priority was to get the handicap ramp constructed for Jimmy “because if we get it up then we can rig up the front room and kitchen for him. It won’t be much for a while – but it is better than sitting in the truck day and night. I know that has to be hard on his legs and circulation.”

The Richmond students got a good start on the ramp but didn’t have enough time to finish it. In May, a group of students from Centre College in Kentucky will be there to continue working on Jimmy’s ramp.

This project is just one of many that we at Americans Helping Americans® support with financial grants enabling Marsha to purchase the much-needed lumber and other building materials and supplies necessary to do the work on homes such as Jimmy’s throughout the county.

But without our loyal and generous supporters who make that possible, Jimmy and so many others we have helped for the past many years and will be helping this year and for years to come, he might well be still living in that old truck.

Electric for Mr. Jones

Electric for Mr. Jones

For the first time in 65 years of married life, after coming home from the hospital himself, Mr. Jones was scared his wife would also return from the hospital to a cold home.

He had been out for three hours driving from one church to another determined to find someone who would help him pay his electric bill before the disconnect date on his notice. He didn’t know where to go for this was the first time in his eighty-four-year-old life that he had been in this situation.

He had been in the hospital for three weeks recently and his wife was actually in the hospital at the present time. The expense of medication upon his release from the hospital was more than his monthly social security income. He had a disconnect notice from both the electric and water companies in the mail that the neighbor had piled on the kitchen table. His wife was due to be released to come home with home health care within the next week. He knew this could not happen if the utilities were disconnected.

The office worker at one of the churches that he visited told him to our partner, Come-Unity Cooperative Care. “They are your best chance for help,” she told him. They were able to pay all his bill except for the $100 that he was given by the church.

Moments like this would not be possible without the support we receive from our supporters.

Utility Assistance Program Saves Woman and Four-Legged Best Friend from Homelessness

Utility Assistance Program Saves Woman and Four-Legged Best Friend from Homelessness

“Somebody does care ‘bout an old woman and her dog,” Ms. Stella told us after worrying about how to pay her power bill last winter.

She and her four-legged companion Joe literally could’ve been out on the street as public housing will evict a tenant if their electricity or heat is shut off. Joe had gotten sick and she made the choice to take him to the vet, and even though the vet gave her a very reduced price for the dog’s medicine and didn’t charge her for the office visit, for Ms. Stella $37 was the difference in being able to pay her electric bill in full.

“I know what would happen to me – they’d put me out and stick me in a home someplace,” she said. “I know what would happen to Joe too, a sick old dog, they’d kill him. He would never be adopted.”

“But me and Joe we need each other,” she added. “He wakes me up every morning and he is the reason that I do get up. You saved two lives when you helped me with that power bill.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Our partner there Caring Hands Ministries was able to put her in touch with a church group that will bring Ms. Stella supper once a week and visits with her.

And as for old Joe, Caring Hands reached out to the local humane society which is helping her with the cost of his food, medicine, and shots.