When I came to Kentucky to serve as a long-term volunteer in 2009, I wanted to work in a program that I really had no experience in whatsoever. I had spent the last four years in school studying Psychology and I needed a break from it, so I picked the Housing program. My only previous experience with construction was my two spring break trips to WorkFest at the Christian Appalachian Project, so this was a very big step for me. It was something foreign, new and quite scary. Needless to say, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. In my two plus years with the Housing program I learned so many skills. I learned things about myself, the people I volunteered with and the people we served. The main thing I discovered was that I liked swinging a hammer and construction may be a career that I could enjoy.
When it was time for me to leave Kentucky, I left still not knowing what I was going to do for a job when I got back to Connecticut. I knew I had a love for serving others, nonprofits, and construction. What was I going to do with all those passions? I had no idea. And as God works in mysterious ways, within a week of being home I had an interview with a construction management company. It was an entry-level position assisting the Project Managers, but it involved construction, so I was very interested. When I was being interviewed they were thoroughly impressed with the variety of things I did with CAP. They stressed how my experiences in Kentucky were an added bonus. They were very insistent that my skills learned in Kentucky would be an asset to me in this company. I started off as an entry-level assistant and since then have been promoted to a Project Engineer. I don’t think I would have been promoted this quickly without the knowledge that I gained while volunteering with CAP. There have been many times that my boss has commented on how important it is to have that experience in the field. There are many people that I work with that only went to school for Construction Management but they have never built a house before. The skills I learned while serving in Kentucky are something that you can’t learn in school and have been a very valuable skill set in my career.
My volunteer experience has proven to be very valuable to my career and I believe it has allowed me to excel at a faster pace than some of my coworkers. My experience also helped me to find an interest that I probably never would have found if I went right to graduate school or got a full-time job right out of college. My volunteer experience has not only affected my career path, but my outlook on life. I still have a desire to serve others and work with nonprofits and I believe my experience with CAP and my current job experience will lead me to that perfect job one day. The road less traveled can be a scary and uncertain path, but it has been a life changing path for me.
“You do something no one else does; in a manner no one else does it. And when your uniqueness meets God’s purpose, both of you will rejoice…forever.” –Max Lucado
Kate served as a volunteer from 2009 to 2011 in the Housing program in CAP's Sandy Valley Region.