The idea of poverty in America's central Appalachian region is not new. In fact, a little more than 50 years ago, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty from the front porch of a home in Inez, Kentucky—one of the many communities Teach For America is partnering with to bring about systemic change in the mountains. Despite that rallying cry, people living in the region still face many challenges.
They also have many opportunities.
Our teachers, alumni, and staff in Appalachia have discovered leaders across the region who are willing to ask, "What will it take to give every student a 21st century education?" and then take the steps to make this happen. We have been partnering with those already engaged in challenging educational inequity, complementing their efforts and providing a force of educators who are willing to jump in and get to work immediately for kids.
Communities have embraced corps members as their own—often inviting teachers to dinner, to birthday parties, or to church—making this a great rural community to live and work in.