MAY 24, 1940
ARTHURDALE, W. Va., Thursday—Just before coming into Elkins, we stopped at the camp for underprivileged children which I had heard about before, but never had had an opportunity to visit. It is one of the best examples I have seen of what cooperation between various agencies can accomplish. Once it was a CCC camp and two buildings were added to serve as schoolrooms, built by WPA and NYA combined, I think. All the workers are paid by WPA, which results in a complicated schedule. However, the staff works in two shifts and is so planned that in spite of WPA layoffs, there are no gaps in the children's care and life goes on smoothly from week to week.
The State Public Assistance pays for the food, part of which is furnished by the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation. The cost per child is about 26 cents per day, and every child gets a quart of milk daily and a well balanced diet. The camp is now run winter and summer. The children look remarkably healthy. They are being inured to a certain amount of the discomforts to be found in the neighboring rural homes, but the essentials of decent living are all here and there is evidently a spirit of cooperation among all the workers and real happiness in the children.
The county provides three teachers and school is held here through the eighth grade. A county worker is in charge of finding foster homes for the children and they are carefully watched. Some of the children have been in the camp as long as four years, but the average stay is a few months. In all the time the camp has been running, there has never been an epidemic. One child developed scarlet fever and was promptly isolated and no one else came down with it.
Tygart Valley, which we reached at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, has improved tremendously. When I was there last, they had no school and no industry. Now they have both. The school is a modern compact building and will serve their purpose admirably. The factory also is a modern building and extremely well run and they hope by the end of the year to have all their workers trained to the proper speed for economical production. They can probably give all the employment which is needed by the homesteaders in addition to the necessary farming.
This homestead seems to me like one of the best I have seen. There were about 23 boys and girls in the graduating class, and they were such nice looking youngsters. This is not yet a full high school, so they could only graduate from the ninth grade, but next year they hope to have a tenth grade.
The news which came over our little portable radio from England this afternoon was interesting. When a nation voluntarily sets up the kind of self-discipline that is implied in the control over industry and private wealth, as well as the supervision of every citizen's activity, it shows a willingness to give for the sake of preserving what it happens to believe.