Mission & History

Our Mission

WAMY has been a vital part of our community for 52 years. We were founded on the values of hard work, determination and self-worth.  We have continued to grow with the help of our donors and volunteers that make our work possible. Through all these years, our purpose remains the same - breaking the cycle of poverty.


More Than Four Decades of Effective Community Action!

In 1964 a group of twelve citizens came together to work on the unique issues surrounding poverty in rural Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties. They applied for funding from the NC Fund and were approved as one of the seven original community action agencies in the state.  W.A.M.Y. was chartered as a private 501-c3 nonprofit agency in 1964 with the founding mission of to promote individual and family self-sufficiency in order to alleviate poverty at the root level and to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.  

Community action agencies are unique because they are able to change the programs they offer as the needs of their community arise. Our tripartite board structure promotes the participation of the entire community in assessing local needs and attacking the causes and conditions of poverty. Our board is made up of 1/3 Elected public officials or their representatives 1/3 Private sector representatives and 1/3 Low-income representatives.

Our funding comes from Federal and State grants, community foundations and private contributors. Our list of past and present services includes community centers (now known as Senior Centers), Rural Transportation Systems in all four counties (AppalCART), Head Start Centers, Craft Centers (Blue Ridge Hearthside Crafts Cooperative), Summer Youth Programs (Neighborhood Youth Corps), and the Adult Day and Health Care Center of Yancey County

WAMY has programs and offices in each of the four counties with the central office and coordination in Boone. The success of WAMY for over five decades, the many community partnerships, and clients’ personal successes have enabled WAMY to remain at the forefront of the fight against poverty.  WAMY's programs in the four county region provide a variety of services, resources and tools to help families become self-sufficient.