Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dreamsville U.S.A.

I'm headed north today to Tuscarawas County via Ohio Route 78, known as the Rim of the World. It's a beautiful drive on the way to the annual event for The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, held at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum. (Dennison was known as Dreamsville U.S.A. during WWII--find out why).

I like trains and I like Megan so, since this is her company's deal, I'm going to throw on a suit, have a drink, and make charming(?) train puns all night, perhaps with elected dignitaries.

Tonight, the Foundation honors John D. Ong, a former United States Ambassador. He joins John Glenn, Ted Strickland (Ohio's current governor), and Bob Evans (restaurant pioneer) as "I Am a Child of Appalachia" honorees.

This ICAN! program seeks to promote this part of Ohio, and the foundation also sponsors a writing contest for local schools so that students can explore their ideas about their region. Tonight, 96 writerly students will be awarded prizes to help them with college. I helped judge the ninth-grade poetry contest, and these kids can sure sling a rhyme. I learned some things from them about this adopted home of mine.

Megan is the ICAN! Partnership Coordinator. She's one of the liaisons between big companies and the Foundation, and both parties have the goal of raising academic achievement in the area (this year, Walmart donated $200,000!).

Megan, then, helps kids think more clearly when they're in fourth grade, and, eventually, when they get to OU, I help them think more crazily! We're trying to make their journey to Dreamsville a bit easier.

Check out the Foundation's web site to see what else they've got going for the region.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Volunteer M.V.P.!