ABLE Families exists to confront the systemic causes of poverty  by assisting families as they make positive changes in their lives.  We help people of northern Mingo County, WV, who are caught in the net of poverty gain more control of their lives. We focus on women and children because they suffer most severely the effects of poverty. 

We are a non-profit, faith-based agency founded in 1995 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wheeling.  ABLE Families serves all without consideration of race, religion, ethnic background, or social status.

The ‘ABLE’ stands for Affirming, Believing, Learning, Empowering.

Our programs include:

The Maternal Infant Home Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program: We employ six in-home educators, local mothers who are well-respected in the community, who make monthly visits to new mothers.  They offer a listening ear, support, and education about prenatal health, child safety and health issues, and childrearing.  This year we’re moving into a new area with our MIHOW program, offering a support and informational group to teen parents at local high schools.

AfterSchool: We provide a safe, structured, enriching, and caring environment for children K through eighth grade to spend their after-school hours.  Our students spend their time with music lessons, literacy development, physical activity, and homework help.  Special features this year include dulcimer lessons, a visiting expert on Appalachian music and culture, and some well-known children’s authors.

Summer Camps:  Every summer we offer a series of week-long daycamp opportunities to children of the area.  This year’s camps include music, chef, survivor, theater, astronomy, and swim.

Supper in a Sack: We provide a 6-week nutrition education course to low-income parents.  Participants learn how to prepare meals that are both affordable and healthy for their families.  This takes place in our impressive on-site kitchen classroom.  We also periodically offer our teen version of this program, Teen Cuisine.

Adult education: We provide tutoring for adults preparing to take their GED exam, basic literacy training, and more.

Our site also features a computer lab available for use by our afterschool children, GED clients, and others.


ABLE Families History

ABLE Families was founded 1995, with Sr. Janet Peterworth, OSU, as its founding director.  It began as an adult learning center offering literacy and adult basic education.  It expanded into computer training, family literacy opportunities through Appalread (a program of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College), and a home visiting program for pregnant women or women who have babies birth-three years called the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker program (MIHOW) through Vanderbilt University.  ABLE Families went on to conduct an award-winning nutrition education program, Supper in a Sack, and to become a partner with Save the Children, an organization dedicated to serving children ages five through eighteen.  Save the Children withdrew from West Virginia in 2005, but ABLE Families continued its after-school program, holiday enrichment experiences, and summer camps.

ABLE Families has grown from having one employee, its director, to having 12 employees who staff, either full or part-time, the various programs that it runs.

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