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

      for kids.


      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.

Current program:

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.

Afterschool STEM activities
Summer music camp
Step by Step staff  meetings 
Afterschool construction
Afterschool artwork 

If you'd like to visit the Big Ugly Community Center here are directions.