Santa Maria youth volunteer in West Virginia

Six teens from Santa Maria’s Youth Development Program spent four days in West Virginia this month to develop their work and social skills by helping the Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS). The youth read with children during SALS’s summer reading program, and helped clean and organize some of the SALS’s facilities. The group had an opportunity to learn about West Virginia’s history of mining while they did some sightseeing and visited a mountain-top removal site. The adventure wouldn’t have been complete, however, without a relaxing and scenic swim in the Dries and a White-water rafting trip on the New River! The view of the mountains, rivers, and wildlife offered a completely different view for the youth than that of the tall, brick apartment buildings and groups of people lining the streets in Cincinnati. The group bonded during the four days together and noted “cliff jumping” as a highlight of their trip.