By Micole Willoughby
Hi, I’m Micole and I serve in the Elderly Housing Program at Christian Appalachian Project (CAP). Discerning whether you should dedicate time to serving as a volunteer is a big deal, and there’s a lot of thought that goes into making that decision. Trust me, I know all about it! I also know about the convenience of being where you’re comfortable and the internal struggle between complacency and potential adventure.
No matter what your age or where you’re from, it can be scary leaving your comfort zone and going somewhere you don’t know the people, area, or culture. Still, my advice to anyone who’s thinking about joining CAP is, “Go for it; it’s worth it.”
The fear of doing something different shouldn’t keep you from experiencing the awareness that comes from working in missions. You learn so much about yourself and the complexity of the world around you on a daily basis. CAP volunteers wake up every morning and go to serve expecting to make a difference in someone’s life that day.
Buying a heating unit for a family so they can stay warm during the winter, building a ramp for an elderly couple to have a safe way to exit their home, providing food for people who are trying to get by and need a little help feeding the mouths they’re responsible for. These are only a few of the things that CAP does for the people of Appalachia. There are so many opportunities to improve someone’s way of life.
The fulfillment that comes from being a part of CAP, in my opinion, trumps all of the discomforts that may arise from being away from your comfort zone. This is because after a short time, CAP becomes your comfort zone. You could be here for three weeks or two years; it doesn’t matter. CAP wins your heart. Everything about this Volunteer Program has to do with reaching out to the people around you with love. Priority is put on understanding others and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve.
This goes full circle and as a result, you get treated the same way. CAP does everything they can to make your service time as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. There’s no escaping the fact that things will be different from what you’re used to, but the sacrifices that you make will not be in vain. You get so much back for the time and effort that you put into your service with CAP — emotionally, physically, and spiritually. All you have to do is be willing to take the initiative and spare the time.
Micole is an AmeriCorps Home Repair Crew Member living in the Rockcastle Volunteer Community. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program.