High Rocks AmeriCorps Team ﾗﾠGetting things done in Pocahontas County
High Rocks has been working with high school girls in Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Nicholas counties for 15 years. What started as a summer camp of 13 girls has turned into two camps with 51 total campers, plus elementary school enrichment, local food projects, school partnerships and more, along with a comprehensive year-round program of tutoring and enrichment, college preparation, arts activities, service projects, mentoring and more.
A great deal of growth and positive change for High Rocks this past year was made possible through our AmeriCorps team. With this 10-member team, High Rocks not only was able to accept more girls into camp this year, but also has expanded its programming to reach more youth and community members in multiple ways. Six members of our AmeriCorps team worked directly in Pocahontas County.
Two of the members-Annie and JP-revived and re-imagined "Use Your Noodle," an elementary school enrichment program originally created by High Rocks girls. This year, the "Use Your Noodle" team worked with 182 elementary students in grades K-4 at Marlinton and Hillsboro Elementary schools, in cooperation with teachers, to provide in-school reading enrichment, library lessons, math help, art projects, gym activities and special education support. The team also provided creative, educational after-school activities to 67 elementary students enrolled in the "Use Your Noodle" program.
The program was offered at McClintic, Hillsboro and Linwood libraries with activities that promoted art and literacy, ecology, nutrition and diversity and tolerance. The "Use Your Noodle" was also selected by the Boston Museum of Science to pilot their Engineering Adventures curriculum at "Noodle in the Sun," a four day summer day camp at the High Rocks campground with 13 elementary students, assisted by seven High Rocks girls who served as volunteer teachers and counselors.
Vanessa and Lisa-Sun worked as a team to provide academic and mentoring support to teens. They worked with 321 middle and high school students during the school day, assisting with projects in AP literature, literature, freshman English, U.S. history, world history, and yearbook classes, as well as with a state-wide writing competition and the county social studies fair. The team also offered high quality after-school enrichment workshops where 19 high school students, including both boys and girls, took advantage of hands-on training in digital photography, media (sound and video), theatre makeup and creative writing. This team also participated in High Rocks for Girls programming such as community service events, tutoring and camps.
Local foods AmeriCorps members Corey and Adrienne worked in partnership with schools and also with families in the community to promote and support local food production through gardens and farms. Within the schools, the Local Foods team engaged 78 participants in a combination of hands-on garden work, education and planning initiatives. The team also interacted with more than 200 community members and 175 youth through events and meetings, as well as through a new growing initiative program called Grow Appalachia. Grow Appalachia began in 2009 in Kentucky as a way to support the people of Appalachia in addressing the hunger in the region by growing their own food. The Pocahontas County local foods AmeriCorps team, in partnership with staff member Rachel Garringer, are currently supporting 20 Pocahontas County individuals and families in growing their own gardens. Rachel and Adrienne are alums of Pocahontas County Schools and the High Rocks Program.
Fifteen years ago when High Rocks first began it was a program that would work to eliminate the barriers that prevent young women from "doing the thing they think they cannot do." With the help of the AmeriCorps program, it has been able to expand its reach to even more girls, youth and community members.
AmeriCorps match supporters -the Pocahontas County Commission and Snowshoe Foundation, and Partners in Prevention, which includes the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the WV Children's Trust Fund and WV Department of Health and Human Resources-made this year possible, as did every individual, including every High Rocks parent, who invested their donations, time and energy.