RAIL: Projects for Positive Social Change
The mission of the Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. is to implement sustainable projects for positive social change in the southern West Virginia coalfields. For more than a decade, RAIL has served as a hub for nonprofit enterprises in Wyoming County. RAIL also works with local and visiting volunteers to channel good intentions into tangible projects that benefit the community.
A group of Mullens-area volunteers founded RAIL to respond to the disastrous floods that decimated Wyoming County in 2001. With the assistance of AmeriCorps members, volunteer groups and state support, RAIL renovated the Mullens Grade School, which had been severely damaged by the flood. Local residents also helped with the cleanup and established a community center named the Mullens Opportunity Center (MOC).
Since then, RAIL has used the MOC as a testing ground for meaningful social entrepreneurship. MOC staff were instrumental in forming the Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association, and local business people set up shop in many of the classrooms. As funding grew, the MOC added GED training, a computer lab, social service supports and youth employment programs. An AmeriCorps Farm to School program was added in 2015, which also led to the creation of community gardens and our first-ever farmer’s market.
RAIL also operates the Wyoming County Diabetes Coalition. The organization also employs retirees and young people through Experience Works and WorkForce West Virginia.
RAIL has partnered closely with AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) and NCCC (National Civilian Conservation Corps). The MOC is also the main hub for colleges and universities, faith-based groups, and Wyoming County school programs.