Plan a program with Amizade in Appalachia
Amizade volunteers travel to the rural community of Williamson, West Virginia. While this area of the country is best known for the Appalachian Trail, outdoor sports, and inspiring natural beauty, Williamson is known locally as a “typical southern coalfield town” and not a tourist hot spot.
Located in the heart of Appalachia on the border of West Virginia and Kentucky, Williamson has a population of around 3,500. Coal has been the central pillar of the local economy, with approximately 40% of jobs in the region directly linked to the industry. Williamson is a safe community that allows volunteers to see and experience authentic Appalachian culture.
Location: Williamson, WV
Service Opportunities: service opportunities relating to education, agricultural & economic sustainability, and community health
Culture and Recreational Highlights: Walking tour of the center of Williamson, Walk Hatfield and McCoy Trail, participate in Tuesday Night Track at Belfry High, and more.
HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM
We pride ourselves in creating mutually empowering and safe global service-learning programs. This means that when you develop an experience with Amizade, you’re building a responsible, intentional, and community driven service-learning program. Programs typically have three phases: (1) pre-immersion, (2) immersion, and (3) re-entry. Amizade works with you in all three phases to develop your program, including to build curriculum, itineraries, budgets, evaluation, follow-up, and sustainability.
The first step in building your program is to have a chat with us. We’re a people-powered organization, which means a little less tech and a little more human conversation. Send us an email, give us a ring or fill out this form to initiate the start of your journey.
Once we’re all feeling good about a potential collaboration and have a clear, co-created vision, Amizade and its partners submit a proposal to you. The proposal will include an overview of what you might be engaging in, a draft itinerary, health and safety information, and a transparent line-item budget.
After the proposal is agreed on, we send over a digital contract. This includes important legal and financial considerations. After a signed contract and a non-refundable $1,000 deposit are submitted, we can officially lock in your dates and begin the process of preparing for your program.
This phase includes pre-departure orientations (we mandate at least one with our staff), learning about the process of travel, culture, service, and the community you are visiting. This is also when family and community sensitization takes place, as well as any relevant coursework. Often this is when we see group bonding start, comfort zones being extended, and new challenges (as well as some nerves and excitement).
This is the travel phase. Community engagement, reflective practice, academic inquiry, and exploration all should be taking place at this time. All of our programs are a mixture of service, workshops, and cultural and recreational activities. Participants will step out of their comfort zones, try new things, engage complex issues, be introduced to new networks and ideas, and bond. Often this can be a very disrupting, inspiring, and transformational experience.
After a transformative experience, we sometimes can fall right back into the grind of life when we return home. It can be tough, isolating, and confusing. Re-entry is perhaps the most important phase for determining what kind of neighbor – the very person – you become. It’s also the easiest to ignore. In this phase, there should be serious reflection, advocacy, support systems, and/or a plan for community engagement, or social action. Depending on the design and funding of your program, Amizade can help create a plan and opportunities for participants.
Since 1994 we have been thought leaders and pioneers in developing best practices in responsible global service-learning, study abroad, and solidarity-building volunteering experiences. We work with:
Universities (faculty-led, alternative break, and semester abroad)
Community and Religious Groups
OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
The mission of Sustainable Williamson is to create a replicable sustainable community model for low-wealth communities throughout Central Appalachia. Working alongside local stakeholders, volunteers are not just helping to achieve long and short term goals, they are learning from and experiencing a culture and community from within.
Find here a sample itinerary of activities in Appalachia.