Be the change you wish to see!!!

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. To learn more about the history of Big Creek People in Action, please Click Here!



We are pleased to present you with Big Creek People in Action’s 2017 Annual Report.  We have continued to be a resource for the community by providing access to resources and networks that encourage self-sufficiency in families and offer opportunities for our citizens to work together to create a sustainable, successful community.  Within these pages, you will learn about our programs and accomplishments during 2017.  

During 2017, BCPIA served 4,171 people in order to educate as well as provide basic needed services.  A total of 12,123 meals were served out of the Center and we coordinated 18,077 hours of service by 552 volunteers from inside and outside the area.

     We were fortunate to get a grant to purchase new appliances for the work group dining hall as well as computers, washers and dryers, hot water heaters, tools, and other equipment for the organization.
    Our dear friends from the South Carolina churches built our new fire escape and installed it so that it serves two other dormitories on the third floor.    They also donated wonderful new kitchen cabinets and installed them in the Dining Hall.
    Through an In-Kind grant from Americans Helping Americans, we started a pilot program to give dental hygiene kits that last six months to all of the students at Southside K-8.  Our Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator was able to go into the Health Classes to teach the students about dental hygiene and will determine the success of the program every six months when she goes back into the schools.
    We were able to expand our Odd Squad Summer Math Camps to three weeks in different communities throughout the county this year.

MISSION AND PURPOSE                                                    

Big Creek People in Action (BCPIA) was formed in 1990 by local citizens working to bring about a brighter future in McDowell County, WV.  Our mission is to “foster a community in which people learn, work, play, and grow together to prepare themselves for success.”  Our vision of McDowell County is one of empowered and self-sufficient families living in communities that are democratic, socially just, and economically vibrant.   BCPIA believes that:
The strength of our area rests in its citizens
Young people should be active citizens in the places they live
Everyone can help build the communities in which they live
The best way to help people is to help them help themselves
The people best able to address a problem are those most directly affected by it
Education is fundamental in helping people reach their full potential
To accomplish our vision, BCPIA works with families and communities to link sustainable community development and economic opportunity with a broad vision for change.


     BCPIA has seven full-time staff members, four AmeriCorps members, and a staff member provided by the Senior Community Service Employment Program to carry out the day-to-day work at the Center.  In addition, we have volunteer staff through the Department of Health and Human Resources WV Works Program and the Youth Connection program.  The staff has participated in various trainings and workshops throughout the year to improve their skills.

    BCPIA’s Board of Directors currently has nine Board Members.  The Board’s purpose is to develop policies, procedures, and regulations for the operation of the organization, to monitor finances, programs and performance, and to maintain and update a long-range plan.  The Board meets quarterly to approve reports, set policies, evaluate programs, and ensure that the organization is accomplishing its goals.


     As a West Virginia Family Resource Center, we have an Advisory Council, which consists of program participants, business leaders, and representatives from other organizations.   They meet once a quarter to evaluate the Family Resource Center programs and services.   


     BCPIA partners with many organizations to offer needed services in the community.  Our organizational partners include LifeBridge AmeriCorps, who sponsor our AmeriCorps program; the local Department of Health and Human Resources, who provide volunteer staff through the WV Works Program; Youth Connections, who placed youth to work here under an employment program; the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, who support our Family Resource Center; the McDowell County Board of Education, Southside K – 8, the McDowell County Career & Technology Center, and the county Head Start centers, who allow us to work with their students; West Virginia Public Broadcasting, who work with us on education including the Super Why Literacy Camps and Odd Squad Math Camps; Americans Helping Americans, who send us new coats, blankets, shoes, diapers, and food to distribute;  the Council of Southern Mountains and Mountaineer Food Bank, who work with us on hunger reduction;. Catholic Community Charities, who help people get assistance with their electric bill; as well as a partnership with  the United Way of Southern West Virginia.  We provide meeting space for the Southern Highlands mental health patients and their workers, for local coal mine classes, and other organizations.   We also collaborate with other organizations in the county by distributing information at their events as well as providing referrals for services that we do not provide.

     BCPIA continues to write grants to foundations and government sources, seek donations, sponsor various fundraising events, and host college and church volunteer groups to help secure the funding needed to support our programs and services.  We have several sources of in-kind income including AmeriCorps staff, who are provided by LifeBridge AmeriCorps, Receptionist provided by  the Senior Community Service Employment Program, volunteer staff through the Department of Health and Human Resources welfare-to-work program, staff through the Youth Connections program, work contributed by the college and church groups, and several thousand dollars of in-kind contributions of diapers, blankets, toys, food, household supplies, shoes, coats, etc. that we distribute to the community.


  • AEP Foundation
  • Aetna Foundation
  • Americans Helping Americans
  • Anthem Foundation
  • Appalachian Power
  • Bernard McDonough Foundation
  • Broadway Cares
  • Credit Bureau of the Virginias
  • Dominion Foundation
  • George M. Cruise Foundation
  • Home Depot Foundation
  • Hugh I. Shott Foundation
  • Katharine Tierney Foundation
  • McDowell County Board of Education
  • Norfolk Southern
  • Skewes Family Foundation
  • United Way of Southern West Virginia
  • USDA Rural Development
  • Walmart
  • William & Helen Thomas Charitable Trust
  • WV Department of Health & Human Resources
  • WV Division of Culture & History
  • College & Church Volunteer Groups


     The following statistics shows the challenges we are facing.  According to the 2010 Census, Reconnecting McDowell, and WV Kids Count, McDowell County’s median family income is less than half the national one, 40% of the population lacks a high school education, 18.9% of kids drop out of school, only 5.7% of the people are college graduates, 46% of students do not live with their biological parents, 72% of students live in a household without gainful employment, and we have an illiteracy rate of 37%, which is the highest in the state. These alarming statistics show that we have much work to do to provide adequate services that will help children further their education and become successful as adults.  

Afterschool - One of our most rewarding programs is our year-round afterschool program which has 36 kids.  There are three teachers that work with the students each day and parents have reported improvements in their children’s grades.  The program offers a full, nutritional meal, homework support, computer time, help with school projects, exercise, and transportation.  Good health habits are taught through nutrition and oral health education.  They also get to participate in special projects such as Science Fun and go on field trips in the summer.    Kids have the opportunity to form close bonds with other children in order to have more positive relationships with their peers.  
 During the summer and school breaks, the students were again involved in a special project called T.R.A.V.E.L., which stands for Traditions, Research, Arts, Voices, Education, and Learning.   They learned about different cultures, food, art, and traditions and were assigned a new country every two weeks to research and study.  

In-School Tutoring - We have two Reading Coaches that work 4 days per week at the McDowell County Career & Technology Center to improve Reading and Math skills and one tutor who works at Southside K-8 to tutor students in reading.
Students being tutored are tested periodically to determine the effectiveness of the program.

Parenting Education - Positive parenting leads to a happier, healthier child living in a loving and nourishing environment.  Children who grow up in a home with positive parenting learn better in school, have better behavior, and are well-rounded children. With our parenting classes, we educate parents on a variety of topics so they can make wise choices that are in the best interests of their children.

     LifeBridge AmeriCorps members are placed at our Center to work on educational programs.  Our members worked on the following projects in 2017:
Tutoring at the McDowell Career and Technology Center and Southside K-8
Working with the Afterschool Program
Sponsoring Read Alouds and literacy activities at Southside & Head Starts
Working with WV Public Broadcasting on the Super Why camps to teach young children to read and Odd Squad math camps to teach math concepts to students throughout the county
Distributed Book Bags & School Supplies at Southside K-8
Dr. Seuss Birthday Read Aloud event
Martin Luther King, Jr. event
Valentine Read Aloud
Spa Day at the Nursing Home
Participated in the Halloween event at Southside K-8
Christmas Party for Head Start


     McDowell County reports the lowest standard of housing in the state, with age being the primary factor affecting the quality of housing.  Our Housing Rehabilitation Program was established because many families in our area live in dilapidated, unsafe homes and don’t have the resources to make the needed repairs.  The mission of our Housing Rehabilitation Program is to efficiently enhance the quality of life of our low-income, disabled, and senior citizens through fixing their homes to correct health and safety issues, improve accessibility, and provide a suitable living environment so that they are warm, safe, and dry.  
In 2017, BCPIA served 205 individuals with housing repairs including installing & repairing roofs, painting, handicap ramps, vinyl siding, windows, insulation, plumbing, flooring, bathroom repairs, porch repairs, and others.  College and church volunteer groups included:

  • Adrian College
  • Centre College
  • Mars Hill University
  • Rider University
  • University of Notre Dame (2 trips)
  • Berwick Academy – ME
  • Convent Baptist – SC
  • First Baptist of Newberry - SC
  • First Parish Church – MA
  • Lexington Church of God – SC
  • Red Bank, South Lexington, &
  • Smyrna Baptist Churches, SC
  • River Road Unitarian – MD
  • Second Baptist Church – VA
  • Sidwell Friends – Washington, DC
  • SS Peter & Paul – NY
  • Stone Valley Parish – PA
  • Unitarian of Columbia MD
  • Unitarian Universalist - MD
  • Unitarian Universalist – NY
  • Upshur Helping Hands – WV
  • Wightman United Methodist – SC
  • Yorkana Christ UMC – PA


     Service Learning is a method of teaching through which students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their communities develops an ethic of service and civic responsibility.
Students have a variety of service opportunities here from which to choose a meaningful placement.  Included are alternative college breaks, community service weekends, summer placements and internships, and special events.


     Many of Big Creek People in Action’s programs and services involve job training and preparation.   This is an important service we provide to help people better themselves and prepare for a brighter future.  When people are placed here to work, they learn workplace ethics and behavior, responsibility, and effective communication skills that they will need when securing permanent employment.  We also help people in the community prepare their resumes and secure job opportunities.
The Department of Health and Human Resources places people here under the welfare work experience program WV Works and youth can be placed here to work under the Youth Connections program.  These people learn how to be responsible, be on time, follow directions, work with other staff, and gain valuable work experience.
Our staff worked with people in the Computer Lab to help them complete on-line classes as well as basic computer skills.
We have two tutors that work at the McDowell County Career and Technology Center providing tutoring services to the students in all of the Career and Technical Education course offerings.   Big Creek People in Action tutors work diligently with students to ensure that each graduate is not only equipped with academic and career tech skills, but also with professional skills related to entrepreneurship and employment.


     Our computer lab offered access to the internet and many specialized programs and learning activities to enable people to enhance their quality of life through access to information technologies.  Self-paced courses are offered to people of all age groups and skill levels.  They can take classes to advance their skills on beginning and advanced computer classes, life skills, job skills, G.E.D., driving tests, resume writing, financial information, and a variety of other courses.  


     Our Healthy Lifestyles program sponsors two large events at the Center and also sets up at other county events to give out health and parenting information.  The Moms and Babes Fair is for new and expecting mothers.  They attend educational workshops, get information from county providers, and get free items to support the health and safety of their infants and toddlers.  
The Senior Health Fair offers health information and screenings such as blood pressure checks, free health items, and flu shots from a variety of area organizations. Seniors attending the event were able to get flu shots, blood pressure checks, free health items, and much more.  We had Bonnie’s Bus for the second time this year and seventeen women were able to get free mammograms.  

    BCPIA hosts many special events throughout the year that support education, family events, entertainment, and holiday observances.  These events give families a chance to spend quality time together in a wholesome atmosphere.  Events during 2017 included the following:

     Spring Carnival – After a long, hard, winter, people are ready to come out and have some fun in a family environment.  Emory and Henry College students helped to financially support the Carnival.  Fun games, good food, and great prizes were enjoyed by all.

     Moms and Babes Fair - This year’s baby fair packed a lot of information for expectant mothers and mothers with children up to age three. Several organizations gave out valuable information about programs and the moms attending also sat through workshops about prenatal and infant care. For the past fourteen years, Big Creek People in Action has held a community baby shower that is both informative and fun.  Moms get a lot of goodies such as diapers, wipes, lotions, baby bath products, smoke detectors, baby clothing, car seats, and much more.

     Mountain Music Festival – Showcasing local talent and giving the community a day of family-style entertainment is what this festival is all about.  At the 2017 festival, we provided free inflatable blow-up games for the kid’s enjoyment, as well as carnival games and great food.  Fun for the whole family and admission was free.

     Senior Health Fair - The fifth annual Senior Health Fair was a successful event filled with health information from a variety of McDowell County organizations. Seniors attending the event were able to get free mammograms through Bonnie’s Bus, flu shots, blood pressure readings, and much more.  They were treated to a hot, healthy lunch. Afterward, they got to play bingo for some nice prizes, which they really enjoyed.

     Super Why Camp - We co-sponsored with West Virginia Public Broadcasting very successful summer literacy camps throughout the county.   Super Why was created to help children ages 3-6 learn to read through interactive story adventures. SUPER WHY features a team of literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig (with Alphabet Power), Wonder Red (with Word Power), Princess Presto (with Spelling Power), and Super Why (with the Power to Read).

     Odd Squad Math Camp – For the second year, BCPIA co-sponsored with West Virginia Public Broadcasting summer math camps for students to learn math concepts in a fun way.  Based on the “Odd Squad” television series, kids act as special agents to solve a mystery using their math skills.  The camp was expanded to three sites in the county.

     Halloween Family Fun - We considered having the Haunted House this year but did not feel we had adequate time to set up.  But we used a lot of our decorations and props to have a free Halloween Family Fun event.  It was spooky without being too scary for the little ones.  We had free food, free carnival games and crafts, and costume contests.  It was a great success.

    Community Christmas Activities -  With a lot of help from churches from South Carolina, Second Baptist Church from Richmond, and a lot of generous people, Christmas was made a little brighter for many children, families, Southern Highland’s clients, and senior citizens  who attended our annual Christmas Parties.  We had three parties this year, serving 579 people.  Participants received gifts, treat bags from Santa, gifts for Mom and Dad, food boxes, and a hot Christmas meal.  

BCPIA sponsored or participated in other special events or projects during 2017:

  • Coats, blankets, diapers, food, hygiene kits, paint, and shoe Giveaways
  • Bible school sponsored by the South Carolina churches
  • War Fall Festival
  • County Drug Free Day at Mount View High School
  • Early Childhood Fair at the Armory
  • Tug River Spring Fling
  • Roll and Read
  • Health Fair at Raysa

    We are proud of our accomplishments this year but realize that there is still more work to be done.  We would not be able to continue to offer our services without the generous support of many organizations and people who believe in our cause to create fundamental change in the area.  Together, we are making a difference, one family at a time.



Contact Information:                  

Big Creek People in Action, Inc.                           

HC 32 Box 541

War, WV 24892

Ph. (304) 875-3418

Fax: (304) 875-3518

Email: bcpia3418@netscape.net