Coda Mountain Academy lives and breathes the mission of community transformation. By recognizing that the pillars of family, education, wellness, leadership, and faith are inextricably interwoven, deep and sustainable change is possible. On a foundation of integrity and collaborative relationships, innovative and diverse programs are delivered that target societal challenges.
It brings us indescribable joy to make a difference in our county riddled with poverty, food insecurity, and an opioid crisis. Coda Mountain Academy values the development of the whole person. The larger goals of Coda are to equip youth with the tools they need to live productive and fulfilling lives. Through developing exposure and opportunities that promote healthy goal setting, positive identity, strong character, resiliency and life skills, Coda hopes to change the world, one child at a time. Mutual respect is encouraged between all regardless of faith, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.
The story of Coda began to unfold in 2007 when Charles and Esther Morey organized their first summer music camp. This high-caliber residential 2 week camp, the Summer Music Festival, was just the beginning of Coda’s many relevant programs reaching a community riddled with poverty, food insecurity and an opioid crisis. The program was established as Coda Mountain Academy, Inc. in 2013, and has since become a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Coda Fine Arts Kidz day camp began in 2010 for young children and became a feeder camp for the Summer Music Festival. It provides music, art and drama to K-11 students.
In 2013 Coda was invited by Fayette County Schools to begin an after-school music program. This free program includes supper and bus transportation. It now serves over 200 students yearly in two schools in music, art and Lego robotics.
In 2016 Coda Explore STEM camps were born. These exciting camps introduce students to the engineering world through hands-on activities, interactive games, and classroom instruction. Activities will include Lego Mindstorm Robotics, project-based learning, STEM activities, outdoor/survival skills, and programming principles.
Coda Community Classes were started that same year to serve students who could not access Coda Inspire afterschool programs. Parents could take classes with their children if desired. Family Living classes for adults and their families began in the same year. These free classes include painting, cooking, sewing, finance etc. and provide parents and grandparents a positive peer group and place to invest in themselves.
Work with the many at-risk students in Fayette County Schools brought the magnitude of the opioid crisis and related problems to the forefront of Coda’s mission. In 2017 the Fayette County Health Department reached out to Coda requesting partnership in drug prevention. That same year the Health Department invited Icelandic researcher Alfgeir Kristjansson, now at West Virginia University, to come and explore effective prevention strategies. Kristjansson is working to transplant in West Virginia the successful Iceland model emphasizing youth engagement in meaningful activities. In 2019 Kristjansson was able to procure a grant from the Center for Disease Control that will enable he and his team to work with the Fayette County Health Department, Fayette County Schools, Coda Mountain Academy and other agencies in an exciting initiative that could become a pilot program for many communities beleaguered with the opioid crisis.
In 2018, thanks to support from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Coda began Coda Excel. This unique tutoring program uses arts integration to teach foundational concepts in math, language arts and social studies. Many struggling students have gained a renewed confidence and love of learning at this fun and engaging program.
In 2020 Coda received the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. This allowed them to partner with Camp Royal and Active Southern West Virginia to provide 25 weeks of after-school programs 4 days a week that include a meal and bus ride. These free programs are open to all 3rd-8th grade students and include Lego robotics, art, music, skateboarding, scootering, biking, run club, hiking and disc golf.
In 2023 Coda received the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Changemaker Award. Three minute film here.
The impact of these programs is tangible. Data indicates significant overall improvement in school attendance as well as a decrease in behavioral referrals with students who are in the Coda Inspire program. Children who have suffered trauma, are failing school, regularly suspended for behavior problems and/or struggle with lack of confidence often exhibit changes in attitude and behavior. Giving youth a place to belong, engagement in meaningful activities, and unconditional love is changing lives. Join us as we run into the storm rather than hide from it.
Transformation in our community and in our state is possible.
Together we can revitalize the place we call home.
President: Esther Morey
Vice President: Travis Helmondollar, chief operating officer at CASE WV.
Treasurer: Teresa Workman
Secretary: Robert Morey
Other board members:
Stephen Carpenter, attorney
Lydia Feazell, school orchestra conducator
Scott Berg, area director Young Life