A Place to Call Home
What is our strategic incentive to get people to move to our county?
Interesting question, trickier answer.
There are pat answers and even really good answers but I am not sure what the right answer is. There is a good chance that I am not alone. It is reasonable to assume if anybody had the right answer, there would be no reason to ask the question at this point.
There are several potential and obvious answers. The cost of living is low. Housing is inexpensive. The scenery is amazing. You would be hard pressed to find nicer people than in McDowell County. Despite this, our population continues to decrease. Towns that once were bustling communities are just a dot on the map. Some of those towns are no longer even dots. Many who take jobs here decide to live outside the county.
Maybe the answer is not a marketing scheme selling a strategic incentive. Maybe the answer that appears to be ellusive is actually captive. Could it be we overlooked it because we were looking “out there”?
Over the years we have lost many awesome and incredible people but the reality is that there are many awesome and incredible people still living here. People with huge hearts, caring and compassionate people, who work hard every day to create positive change in this small tract of land we call McDowell County. More importantly, together, we call it home, Home Sweet Home. To change our world requires all of us to band together because that is our only strategic plan that makes sense. I want McDowell County to be a better place, a place people are attracted to, not a place to escape from. Who’s with me?
“It’s all Greek To Me!”
An IEP team meeting for your special needs child can be very intimidating to parents entering into the school system. What is an IEP anyway?
Estella Crabtree, a mother in our Parents As Teachers program and a Birth-3 coordinator was our guest speaker holding a workshop for parents to better understand what an Individualized Education Plan is and what role they as parents play in their child’s services at school.
What happens if the temperatures drop below freezing for a relatively long period of time? Yep, you have frozen pipes. It is always challenging to unfreeze pipes while minimizing any damage, especially with an aging pipe in a 150 foot unheated tunnel from the meter to the building. That is what our operations manager, Kyler Wilson had to deal with while staff went without water for close to two weeks.
The City of Welch helped locate the 100 foot of pipe we needed to replace in the tunnel. Two weeks later with thawing temperatures and a full day of using torches, we had water. Ironically, this exciting moment was after 5:00 pm on Friday and the staff, who were affected the most, had gone home for the weekend!
It is amazing how much frozen pipes affect the ministry. We can hope for warmer weather for the rest of this year and for the years ahead but we need a plan for the inevitable. It is estimated at $1500 to insulate the lines from the meter to the office. No funds are allocated for this type of unforeseen problem. We need your financial help to compensate for this “frozen pipe” interruption to ministry and help secure the lines for the future. Please send your financial donation to help with this specific need. Your support, investments and involvement is truly the backbone to every effort at The Community Crossing!
Elementary School Nativity
For years the Kiwanis Club has been given permission to proudly display a nativity scene during the Christmas season atop Welch Elementary School. It's heart
warming to see a beacon proclaiming the
start of Jesus' story.
AShaundaya Barnes: Silver Gloves Champion
AShaundaya and her family have a long relationship with our ministry. Through Parents as Teachers and our Home Repair ministry we have been blessed to be involved with this family for many years. We celebrate with them as AShaundaya just captured the East Coast Regional Silver Gloves Championship title for her division in Baltimore! She will be heading to one of the country’s most prestigious boxing tournaments for kids age 14 and under, the National Silver Gloves Tournament, being held in Kansas City Feb 1-3.
Reconnecting McDowell (RM) is a partnership of public and private groups launched in 2012 with a 5 year aim to make educational improvement in McDowell County “the route to a brighter economic future.” The initiative is supported by the American Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO (AFT) and has been renewed for another 5 years.
The Community Crossing was one of many agencies invited to the annual strategic planning meeting held January 8-9 in Charleston. Attendees gathered to hear updates on Reconnecting McDowell initiatives and to develop strategies for improvements in schools, wraparound services, and economic development. It was disappointing that very few McDowell County residents were actually able to attend, possibly due to the fact the meeting was held over 100 miles outside the county, compounded by ice and snow on the roads, and the expense to attend.
Although the current funding status of the Renaissance Village building in downtown Welch is uncertain, AFT President Randi Weingarten expressed the importance of completing the building. RM reported that the high school dropout rate has declined, 40% of graduates are now starting college, and dental care is available in some schools. The Broader Horizons mentoring program funded by AT&T has served 57 students, and supports academic opportunities and success.
Secretary of Education Gayle Manchin and Karen Wilson strategize on wraparound services in Charleston on Jan 9
The remainder of the meeting provided opportunity to discuss measurable goals for 2020 in three groups: schools, wraparound services, and economic development.
Living and ministering in McDowell for the past 17 years, we raised our children here, and are now blessed with our grandson next door. We have seen many initiatives come and go, all launched with sincere enthusiasm by caring and talented people intent on solving the intractable issues we face. We applaud the interest of outside experts, however having been here for the long haul, we also appreciate that answers do not come easy. Many measures continue to reflect decline, including drug abuse, poor health, and unemployment. Population loss is a significant deterrent to economic recovery, and McDowell County continues to suffer the consequences of brain drain and a workforce that lives outside the county. Students who go to college do not return, and a large percentage of the hospital, school, agencies, and prison employees live in neighboring counties, contributing nothing to any economic impact here. Nevertheless, we remain here, remain committed, and remain hopeful that God will revive our community!
Special guest coming to McDowell in March!
WV Secretary of Education Gayle Manchin was the driving force and founding leader of the Reconnecting McDowell initiative. She has a huge heart for McDowell County and is very supportive of our Parents as Teachers program, and CCX is pleased to welcome her as our keynote speaker at the Creating Strong Families Conference to be held in McDowell County March 21st.
faint and grow weary,
and young men
stumble and fall,
but those who
TRUST IN THE LORD
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings
like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint.
of the Brethren
This year marks 16 years since Summerdean Church of the Brethren began supporting The Community Crossing in prayer, mission teams, and monthly donations. Summerdean, along with all of our supporters, are an integral part of everything CCX does every day. As a non-profit we could not run without our donors. Summerdean, in particular, has gone above and beyond. They have invited us to be a part of their faith family and our staff have always appreciated the opportunity to visit them in Roanoke, Virginia.
On January 7, Kyler and Lesa Wilson were invited to share how God has been working in McDowell this past year and also share in the vision for this new year. Gracious as ever, Summerdean showered us with blessings and words of encouragement. They also responded to the physical needs of our ministry and sent us home with 50 newborn care packages for PAT educators to distribute to families!
All of us at CCX are thankful for Summerdean’s commitment to partner in serving McDowell. We praise God for you!
In memory of a mother, a son, a friend,
all gone too soon
In the past few months, the tragic deaths of three young people we have ministered to through Parents as Teachers, home repair, and basketball have left us with aching hearts, grieving with these precious families. In memory of Emily, Jayden, and Debo.
He will wipe every
tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death,
or mourning or crying or pain...
The Community Crossing can do so much more with your help. We are very fortunate to have the Parents As Teachers grant through WV DHHS, however the grant does not cover the cost of our key supportive ministries:
Home repairs to ensure children have a safe environment
Black Diamond boxing club to encourage fitness and discipline in youth
Men's basketball and other community sports for all ages
Support and resources for entrepreneurs in our county
Healing for drug and alcohol addiction - please pray for the new ministry launched
CCX Missional Magazine covering McDowell County in monthly issues
Would you prayerfully consider giving
$30, $50 or $100 per month
in support of Community Crossing?