Front Porch Blog

Thoughts on Volunteering and Interning

Over the past year and a half, I’ve interned and volunteered at AV and it has been an awesome experience. I think the most meaningful thing I’ve done was last spring, when I did a research project for a class through AV. I made four trips up to West Virginia to see and feel first hand the burdens that MTR puts on communities and the people living in them. The most powerful experience there was in Rawl, where the water supply has been poisoned by coal sludge. People had to rely on state supplied water, which wasn’t plentiful, just so they could drink water without heavy metals. Worse, this problem had been going on for over 10 years, so lots of people were having serious health problems like liver cancer and brain tumors as a result. Before seeing what was going on at Rawl, I had always thought MTR was bad because it destroys mountains, but seeing the human side gave everything a deeper, more powerful meaning. You can read about this kind of thing in a book or online, but until you see it, it is really difficult to understand the breadth of the issue.





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