Children of the Mountains Inspire Viewers

There has been an overwhelming response to Diane Sawyer's special "A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains." Millions of you watched on television and online and thousands offered to get involved and make a difference.

A number of viewers expressed interest in contacting the children featured during the show. We cannot provide the families' personal information, but ABC News encourages anyone who wants to help the children in the story to go through the Christian Appalachian Project, which is in contact with the families and has set up special funds for each child. This includes a college fund for Shawn. CAP can also collect items such as clothing, food and toys for delivery to the families.

CLICK HERE to visit CAP's Web site or call 1-877-919-9901 or 1-866-270-4227.

Many of you also asked about contacting the Homecoming Church. The church's information can now be found on our list of organizations working in the region. A portion of the proceeds from the DVD of the special will also be directed to charities working in Appalachia.

CLICK HERE for the full list of charities and organizations and CLICK HERE to watch the full show.

Read the story below:

The oldest mountains in America are rich in natural beauty with their raging creeks, steep hollows and old pines. They are also one of the poorest, most disadvantaged regions in America.

Central Appalachia has up to three times the national poverty rate, an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, the shortest life span in the nation, toothlessness, cancer and chronic depression. But everywhere in these hills, there are also young fighters filled with courage and hope.

Settled by tough pioneers who clawed their way over the Appalachian Mountains to expand America's borders, the region has produced some of the fiercest military fighters the country has seen. Like their ancestors before them, the children of the mountains are born fighters, and for two years, ABC News has documented the unique challenges some of these rural children face as they chase after their dreams.

Courtney, 12, hopes for a home for her and her family.

"We're not like other people, we can't afford food after food after food," she said.

Shawn Grim, 18, tries to fight his way out of his dysfunctional family in the mountains by becoming the high school football star of Appalachia, while sleeping in a truck.

Jeremy, 18, makes a decision to accept a life down inside the mines, and Erica, 11, is forced to grow up too quickly, trying over and over again to save her mother's life.

'Mountains Are Like Your Mother's Arms'

For generations, poets and musicians like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dwight Yoakum have been inspired by the majestic beauty of the land that spreads across 13 states and has towns named "Lovely," "Beauty" and "Kingdom Come."

"I think the mountains are like your mother's arms around you. They're holding you in one place," said Whitesburg, Ky., resident Nell Fields.

Forty-one years ago, Robert F. Kennedy traveled to eastern Kentucky to bring attention to a part of the country that desperately needed help.

At that time, almost 60 percent of families in Appalachian Kentucky fell below the poverty level. The average per capita income for the region was only $841, more than a third lower than the national average.

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