Beautiful, inspiring, and surprising narratives from the Heart of Appalachia.

In the last four years, the U.S. Department of State sponsored a group of Fulbright Students to participate in a week-long service-learning program led by Amizade in Williamson WV. What you find here on this page are beautiful, inspiring, and surprising narratives captured during their program. A storytelling project by Amizade, in partnership with the Williamson Health and Wellness Center, featuring voices of The Fulbright Program participants.


The Heart of Appalachia, Chapter 4 (2019)

Back in May, a group of 12 international students from the Fulbright Program joined Amizade in a unique excursion into the Appalachian culture in Williamson, West Virginia. While serving and learning with our partner Williamson Health and Wellness Center, scholars and community ambassadors shared a moment of reflection in which both could shred common stereotypes and explore mutual particularities never once imagined.

Love and Hope feat. Daniel & Heather

“There’s hope and love in every place you go.”
A group of Fulbright scholars from 11 different countries helped our community partner Heather Wolford and Amizade participant Daniel Rodríguez to break down traditional stereotypes during a service-learning experience in Williamson, West Virginia.

Opioid Addiction feat. Yesser & Durand

The opioid crisis is a global problem affecting millions of people around the world. While serving and learning in Appalachia with Amizade and The Fulbright Program, Yesser Sebeh, a dentist in Tunisia met Durand Warren, director of behavioral services for the Williamson Health & Wellness Center. Together, they reflected on this global issue and how collaborative treatments are changing the lives of people facing opioid addiction.

Healthy Living feat. Mamy & Alexis

The adoption of healthy behaviors is reshaping lives of citizens in rural America. In this video produced by Amizade and The Fulbright Program, our participant Mamy Traoré, from Guinea, West Africa talks to Alexis Batausa from Williamson, West Virginia how his efforts as a director of active living are increasing the quality of life within communities located in the heart of Appalachia.

HOPE feat. Axa & Jessie
As part of our GSL activity with Fulbright scholars, our participant Axa Warraich from Pakistan spent a week with Jessie Spaulding, a community ambassador, and Amizade partner from Williamson, West Virginia. In this video, the two of them shared personal stories and lessons learned during their time together in the Heart of Appalachia. 

Introduction, with Nate Siggers
Our Appalachia SD Nate Siggers is here for an important announcement.

The Heart of Appalachia, Chapter 3 (2018)

In May 2018, Fulbright Foreign Students interview community members of Williamson, WV during a service-learning trip to Appalachia with Amizade. The testimonials captured during that journey shed light on life in rural areas of the U.S., unveiling a new side of the country to visitors.

Home, with Linda Siggers
Home is the where the heart is. To end this year’s The Heart of Appalachia, we invite you to meet Mrs. Siggers, a longtime resident of Williamson, West Virginia and proud mom of our Appalachia site director Nate Siggers. As talking to the Fulbright-Amizade volunteers, she could share her vision about living in a community.

The Growing Warrior, with Jasons Linkenhoker
A growing warrior is helping our partners in Appalachia to reintroduce farming in the community.

Empowering Families, with Marlene Spaulding
Affirming, believing, learning, and empowering families in Appalachia. In this chapter of the Heart of Appalachia, Fulbright-Amizade volunteers had an opportunity to talk to Marlene Spaulding, the executive director of ABLE Families in Mingo County, West Virginia, about her efforts to help her community through education.

Gardening on the Mountains, with James Russell
In the new chapter of the Heart of Appalachia, we invite you to meet James Russell, chief coordinator of Refresh Appalachia whose efforts are turning unused land into agriculture land and helping people on poverty level in Appalachia.

Come together, with Darrin McCormick
Meet Darrin McCormick, the community liaison of our community partner Williamson Health and Wellness Center, in a story produced by the Fulbright-Amizade volunteers about coming together and making a difference.

Man in the Garden, with Lonnie Bowen
We invite you to meet Lonnie Bowen, a garden lover who has traveled on different oceans but only found peace and comfort on the Appalachian Mountains.


The Heart of Appalachia, Chapter 2 (2017)

In April 2017, twelve Fulbrighters engaged with Amizade in a week-long service learning project in Williamson, West Virginia, an Appalachian community with valuable lessons to share about sustainability, perseverance, and revitalization. Learn what this group of volunteers experienced as they dove into the heart of Appalachia through this six-minute video.


The Heart of Appalachia Chapter 1 (2016)

This is a story of transformation and empowerment in the heart of Appalachia. Download and read this digital book created by Amizade, in which you’ll find beautiful, inspiring, and surprising narratives captured by passionate storytellers from the Fulbright Program during their experience of service and learning in Williamson, WV.

Find more stories on the ebook.


To read this digital book on your computer, you must have Adobe Reader installed. (This is not necessary if using a mobile device)