Watch-out Hollow, West Virginia’s Youth are Inspired and on a Mission!

by Jenny Totten and Build it Up! West Virginia Participants

As a born and raised West Virginian, I can say that my state has gotten some pretty bad raps in the past.  Sure, we’ve been last in a lot of things, we’ve been first in some others like obesity rates and unhappiness, but the recent release of the interactive documentary Hollow has ignited a passion and a fire in several of our Build it Up! West Virginia participants to design and create community and economic development activities across southern West Virginia.  Below are their comments about the future of this state, the future of McDowell County, and their place in it.  I hope you feel inspired, I know I do.

McDowell County Build it Up! WV Participants Learn  About Financial Literacy

McDowell County Build it Up! WV Participants Learn About Financial Literacy

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Begonias on the Sesquicentennial

By: Joe Gorman
Location: West Virginia

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A hundred and fifty years can seem like a long time. But today, on West Virginia’s sesquicentennial, I met a young farmer who moved away to Seattle for 25 years to study horticulture and surround herself with plants, a full sixth of the state’s history. Continue reading

Lighting up Highland Park!

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The news is breaking: Highland Park has a solar-powered streetlight.

On Thanksgiving, we gathered together at dusk. The sunset was particularly beautiful that evening. The glow lasted in a sky with few clouds. As darkness fell, we filled the empty street, forming a ring around the light. It was like watching water to boil – we knew it would happen, we didn’t know when. It got quiet. Moments became hours. All the work, the stress, logistics, arguments, fundraising, became compressed. We’d scrambled for funding and footing, scheduled and rescheduled, and hashed and rehashed. And just when it seemed like we’d have to postpone, the money came, the logistics became logical, and on Tuesday, Craig from SolarStreetlightsUSA drove out here to put it in the ground. AJ was up in the cherry-picker with him, wiring the wires and connecting the connectors. The press, the city, and the people were all present. By Thursday, the news had already broken, and this ceremony was effectively unimportant. But it was Thanksgiving. This was what we’d waited for. It was a small crowd – Andre, AJ, Lawrence (dressed as St. Nick), my family, a few people from the neighborhood. In the shadows of the original Model-T factory, we waited to see our work come to fruition. Continue reading