Hindman Settlement School has always been about more than numbers and trends. The legacy of our leadership has been one of “practical idealism,” that together, we can make a way that helps the people we serve to thrive in this place of central Appalachia by utilizing the best ideas that come from both within and around us. During this season of planning and preparing for our future, we are mindful of numbers and trends, to be sure, but we are ever aware of the faces and places behind it all—that together, we really can learn to reimagine this place where we live and figure out how to, collectively, make it the very best place it can possibly be—a place where our children’s education knows no limits, where families do not have to fear where their next meal will come from, where the voices and chords of our ancestors are not hidden in our memories but alive and well, and being added to by balladeers and pickers from throughout our region. We live in a culture and a place that is beautifully imperfect—a crooked timber, if you will—that makes us believe happiness and thriving emerge from our imaginations and our collective resolve.
Immanuel Kant’s notion of the human experience, the “timber” reference above, supports my personal belief that we are better and stronger together, that our realities and our destinies are inextricably intertwined, drawing breath and shape from the forest in which we share, and that we have something toward which we can—perhaps, should—aspire. We may be imperfect, but our pursuit of the ideal is quite a beautiful shared adventure. Doing it as part of the legacy and now present and future of Hindman Settlement School makes the journey that much more gratifying.
Hindman Settlement School has always been about more than numbers and trends, but about faces and dreams and hopes. Together, we have brought hope and given life to thousands of dreams. I ask you to take the time to read this report, understanding how our mission, vision, and stewardship have impacted lives throughout central Appalachia this year.