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2020 marks Fahe’s 40th anniversary of building the American Dream. Over these four decades, Fahe has invested over $1.5 Billion which has directly changed the lives of over 616,000 people.  Our 50+ Members, all local leaders, are directly responsible for our ability to connect communities to investments and opportunity. As we celebrate our anniversary throughout the year, we are taking time to acknowledge and showcase our Members and highlight the important work they are doing which will impact the future of our communities for the next 40 years and beyond.

Southern Appalachian Labor School— Kincaid, WV

For over 30 years, the Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS) has been serving communities in West Virginia through keeping community development and education on the move and supporting change from the ground up. To accomplish this, SALS provides a variety of programs focused on housing, worker education, community engagement, and community service.

SALS offers a variety of housing services including new construction, rehabilitation, and weatherization.  The partner with a volunteers, Youthbuild participants, and community members to bring these services to their communities.

SALS is dedicated to rebuilding a sense of community, politically, socially, and educationally, through their Community Union Program. This worker education program is rebuilding a sense of community throughout coalfields. Utilizing community centers as the union hall, individuals and families gather together to work towards taking back control over their lives and livelihoods. By not only operating a community center, but also having connections to other resources, SALS is able to provide several community events/programs that benefits people of all ages. With programs ranging from preschool to senior citizens, there is something for everybody to take part in.

SALS also promotes community service projects through education centered on housing and construction. They are also a proud member of AmeriCorps, where service members play an important role in community outreach.

Working with the West Virginia Health Care Reform Coalition, SALS is supporting healthcare rights and the need for single payer universal healthcare, a message they share with key leaders in the industry throughout West Virginia. As a member of the West Virginia People’s Election Reform Coalition (PERC), SALS works towards finding ethical solutions to political issues, such as public financing of state elections through “clean money.” SALS is also a major advocate for both environmental and economic justice. Working with the West Virginia Environmental Council, as well as related organizations, SALS addresses environmental issues facing their community and focuses on environmental planning for long-term economic development.

No matter the circumstances, SALS top priority is ensuring their people are taken care of. Every month they work to distribute emergency food to communities. In March SALS partnered with the Mountaineer Food Bank to distribute emergency food in Fayette County, WV to four different SALS sites. The outreach assisted over 200 families, around 800 individuals, which allowed families to secure food during an unpredictable time.

As Fahe’s 2019 recipient of the Voice of the Region Award, SALS continuous presence in the local media and keeping their network up-to-date on their programs and celebrations has been incredibly beneficial and deeply appreciated. They continue to raise awareness about the issues facing Appalachia while uplifting and bringing hope back into the communities they serve. We are thankful they are a Fahe Member and work with us to build the American Dream.

To learn more about SALS, follow the links below:

SALS Website


Join our Anniversary Celebration

Over the course of 2020, we will be celebrating Fahe’s history through sharing historical photos, family stories, and future projects, as well as other Member Highlights. Please join our 40th anniversary celebration by sharing your memories, pictures, and support for Fahe on social media.  Please join in by using the hashtag #WeAreFahe.  You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Olivia Brock Schemanski
Olivia Brock Schemanski
Olivia Brock Schemanski serves as Fahe's Communication VISTA. She holds a BA in Business Administration with a minor in Public Relations from Eastern Kentucky University. She's an avid lover of music and in her free time she enjoys photography, going to concerts and re-watching "The Office."

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