Big Ugly Community Center
The Big Ugly Community Center is the only public building (including grocery stores and schools) for 30 minutes in either direction from Big Ugly. So the Center is a lifeline for many Lincoln County families.
Since 1998, the Center has offered
free afterschool programs for area kids.
Hundreds of area families have
started and maintained gardens
through the Grow Appalachia program.
The Center offers summer camps
The Center invites the whole
community to year-round special
programs, including the Thanksgiving
Dinner with an arts and crafts display
from Berea College.
> May 2: Last day of afterschool
> May 5: Big Ugly Spring Celebration. At the Center!
> Early June?? Summer camps??? Get info
The Step by Step program began at the Big Ugly Community Center in Lincoln County. Though Step by Step has spread to three counties, Big Ugly is still the heart place.
History: In 1993, when the Big Ugly School was shut down by school consolidation, this small Lincoln County community lost the one thing that held them together. The building was vandalized and run down. There was no electricity or water.
In 1995, Step by Step persuaded the county school board to turn over the property to the community at no cost. A group of volunteers gathered with shovels, brooms and buckets to reclaim the building. Neighbors hauled water from the creek, put bleach in it, and scrubbed the building down. A retired miner helped restore the plumbing and electrical systems. The Big Ugly Community Center was born. The building returned to its place at the heart of the community.
Founder Michael Tierney, who lives a mile from the Center, created a 501(c)3 nonprofit structure for Step by Step Inc., so they could receive funding to create programs that would support the families along Big Ugly Creek.
* The Big Ugly afterschool program, is now one of the longest running in
the state. Every child attends free, Monday through Thursday, with bus service
supplied by the school system. Enjoy the facebook page! For more information, contact Tami Boling, (304) 855-5402
* Free summer camps for kids.
* The Grow Appalachia program has helped
hundreds of families start and maintain gardens. Greenhouse.
* The home library program gives children more than 10,000 books each year.
* The woodworking shop gives kids a chance to acquire those skills
Big Ugly Center volunteers are still proving that a small, isolated, low-income community can come together to change things for the better and maintain that change for decades.