The Lower Ninth Ward Village is a community-run, community-driven non-profit organization and neighborhood center located in the heart of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward Village. The Village’s goal is to “bring together the whole lower ninth ward and to empower community members to be self-sufficient and to sustain an equitable quality of life” (LNWV website). While we help serve the Lower Ninth Ward Village by cleaning, clearing, and forwarding its’ mission, the Lower Ninth Ward Village helps facilitate SEEDS’ collaborative mutually beneficial goals by serving and teaching us about the demographics, realities, and visions of the Lower Ninth Ward.
OSBG is a unique initiative that seeks to promote health, economics, and education in the Lower Ninth Ward through creative organic farming projects and alternative education. The high school and the after school program work to integrate GED-prep with sustainable programs such as ending hunger and running an organic produce stand in the Lower Ninth Ward. The fledgling school educates 5 full time students and over 700 service learners annually.
The United Houma Nation is comprised of ~17,000 citizens across 6 parishes in Louisiana. It has been state recognized, but is still awaiting federal recognition (federal recognition would give education and assistance, but would require that the US government compensate the Houma people for the oil on their land). They struggle for educational, health, and government assistance programs and are deeply tied to the water in the bayous that they call home. Most Houma work as either fishermen or on oil rigs, and their livelihood has been near-fatally threatened by recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, in their waters. Additionally, they often are unable to afford healthy food and meals, so obesity and diabetes compound the burden on their people’s survival. Despite their struggle for human rights and recognition, the Houma people have become an invaluable part of our education in Louisiana- not only facts about the bayous and their people, but also about tenacity, strength, and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Mountain Justice promotes the use of clean energy and rejects the use of dirty, dangerous energy sources in the Appalachia region. Specifically, Mountain Justice demands the abolition of mountain top removal (MTR), steep slope strip mining, and all other forms of surface mining for coal. They do this with grassroots organizing, public education, nonviolent civil disobedience, and other forms of citizen action. Their mission is to include and support local communities in their struggle to end the abuses of extractive industries that hurt the environment, cultural make-up, and people of the Appalachia Region. The Mountain Justice Spring Break Program allowed for the SEEDS Project participants to learn more about the specifics of the process of mountain top removal, what people are doing to protest, as well as what the ramifications are on community members and environment surrounding the sites.
In 1993, the Big Ugly Elementary School in Lincoln County, WV was shut down and left empty. The community gained access to the vandalized building, they hauled water, scrubbed out the mold and mildew, turning the school into the current Big Ugly Community Center (BUCC). The BUCC is the only building open to the general public within a half hour drive. Our programs are offered in a county without a public swimming pool, movie theater, and the nearest county library is a 45 minute drive away.
The BUCC is now home to the longest continually running afterschool program in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. It is the site for a free summer program and numerous community services. Step by Step administers these programs.
Big Creek People In Action, Inc. was founded in 1990 by citizens of McDowell County, West Virginia. Since that time, this nonprofit organization has been serving the community of McDowell County in the realms of education and literacy, leadership development, volunteer service, service learning, arts and culture, housing, recreation, and collaborative partnerships. BCPIA’s vision of McDowell County is one of empowered and self-sufficient people living in communities that are economically vibrant, democratic, and socially just.
Interested in learning with, serving alongside, or teaching for us? Please contact us: email@example.com