Many people ask KVC Kentucky to describe the current conditions in eastern Kentucky. Located in the heart of Appalachia, people in the area suffer from extreme poverty, lack of quality medical care and education, poor employment, and severe weather. The best way to understand what the people of Eastern Kentucky deal with is to listen to famous country singer Loretta Lynn’s songs.
Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, a coal mining town considered a residential community of nearby Van Lear. Her father was a coal miner and he was the inspiration for her song “Coalminer’s Daughter.” At age fifteen, she married Doolittle Lynn and within a year, was pregnant with their first child. When she was twenty-one, Loretta and Doolittle started her music career that would transform her into a legendary country music star.
One of the keys to Loretta Lynn’s success are her songs that give a first hand account of living in eastern Kentucky. Along with “Coalminer’s Daughter,” “World of Forgotten People,” “Man of the House,” “Harper Valley P.T.A,” “See That Mountain,” “Best Years of My Life,” and more express the living conditions of the area.
Many men and women living in eastern Kentucky work long, dangerous hours in coal mines to scratch out a living. They also face an impoverished culture where they feel hopeless and it’s hard to break free. Family relationships are also broken or harmed by rampant alcoholism, illegal drug addiction, and other destructive behaviors.
Despite all these negative aspects, Lynn also sings about the strong, traditional family values she grew up and how love held her family together.
Since 2009, KVC Kentucky has provided intensive in-home therapy services for children and families to reinforce the strong values people in eastern Kentucky exhibit. Our Family Preservation and Diversion Programs benefit families who are at risk of having their children removed, or need to learn parenting and coping skills in order to be reunited with their children. We have helped over 5,000 children and families strengthen their core values and remain together.
Lynn’s songs tell about the good and bad of eastern Kentucky, but she’s sung more positive songs about her childhood. Her message is to promote hope and to help people make their lives better similar to KVC’s own mission. Learn more about services KVC Kentucky provides to strengthen eastern Kentucky communities through our website.