“Haven’t worked or laughed harder than this in years.”
So said one student from Ivy Tech Community College, offering sentiments about the recent Spring Break Service Trip sponsored by Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region.
The weeklong project took 10 Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff members to Chavies, a residential hamlet in Perry County, Ky. Ivy Tech’s regional newsletter had described the trip as a “chance to get your hands dirty” and a “wonderful service opportunity.” But only those who went on the Appalachian adventure found out just how dirty their hands would get and how many wonderful memories would be made.
The trip was set up with the Appalachian Service Project by Danielle McQuaide, director of Student Life for the Kokomo Region. Ivy Tech volunteers engaged in such activities as installing insulation and underpinning, extracting and replacing windows and constructing a support wall and floor support.
According to its official website, www.asphome.org, the Appalachian Service Project “is a Christian ministry, open to all people, that inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair in Central Appalachia.” The vision is to put an end to substandard housing in Central Appalachia and for everyone in contact with ASP to be transformed.
Volunteers from various religious and nonreligious backgrounds participated in ASP the week of March 9 to 15. Along with the 10 members of the Ivy Tech community, a group of high school students from an East Coast Catholic boarding school and a college group from Pennsylvania State University joined in.
The full-time employees of ASP provided activities every night at the center for the volunteers. These ranged from viewing a documentary on Appalachia to participating in a meditation/prayer walk.
As much as the volunteers from Ivy Tech and the East Coast groups were changed as they worked and laughed together, it was those in Appalachia whose lives were touched in more than one way.