Appalshop is a multi-media arts and cultural organization located in Whitesburg, Kentucky that strives to develop effective ways to use media to address the complex issues facing central Appalachia – a declining coal economy, a legacy of environmental damage, high unemployment rates, and poor educational opportunities and attainment. In 1988 Appalshop staff members founded the Appalachian Media Institute, a media training program for central Appalachian youth. Using the technological and artistic resources of Appalshop, AMI helps young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions of themselves and their communities. With opportunities to have input into community dialogues, and frame those dialogues themselves, young people develop the skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to become leaders in creating sustainable futures for their communities. Since its inception AMI has directly engaged over 600 young people in media production.