CAP not only looks for ways to serve the people of the Appalachian region, but also to involve them in our work. By fostering good relationships with our participants, we give them the chance to contribute and be involved in their growth and rebuilding. In the end, we receive so much more from our participants than they receive from us.
When Amanda was originally referred to CAP’s Child Development Center (CDC) in the 1990s by her pediatrician, she needed a little help. She was barely out of high school and had two children under the age of five. Since then, three of her children have participated in programming at the CDC, and she has continued to volunteer at the center.
Amanda often felt isolated from peers and even from her community, but getting to know the staff at the CDC gave her the support she needed to persevere. She felt immediately accepted as the staff worked with her, empowering her to solve problems on her own. She remembers, “I didn’t need someone to feel sorry for me; I just needed the right tools.”
Amanda and her husband have now raised five children, and over the years the family has participated in several programs, including Adult Education (by which Amanda was aided in acquiring her G.E.D.), Job Readiness, a parenting program, and the Family Advocacy program.
But the gifts Amanda’s family has given to CAP are even greater.
Amanda and her daughter, Sarah, a college student in Tennessee, attended the Women’s Retreat held at Camp Andrew Jackson last year. After the retreat, Sarah volunteered as a camp counselor — at the same camp she attended as a child each summer. Her childhood experience gave her an advantage in relating to the campers. Mike O’Brien, Camp Coordinator, recalls how she worked with a first-time camper who was going through some difficulties at home. Sarah helped the girl feel comfortable and valued. O’Brien says that by the end of the week, the camper “had a completely new outlook on life, but more importantly herself.”
Amanda and Sarah volunteer almost daily at our Grateful Threadz Thrift Store. Sherri Barnett, Coordinator at Grateful Threadz, praises Sarah for her great attitude and how much she cares about the store and the people it serves. When asked what inspires her service, Amanda responds, “I can’t make large donations like some, but I can give kindness, and I have good organizational skills!”
Amanda is passionate about CAP and the work we are able to do thanks to your support. She wishes everyone could live by CAP’s mission and wants people in similarly tough circumstances to realize they can work to break the cycle of poverty, just as she did. She says she wanted a different life, “… to raise good kids who would be grateful for what they have and be content.”
Amanda remembers what it felt like as a teen mom to not be taken seriously and is thankful that CAP gave her the tools she needed to make positive choices and become a responsible parent. Amanda reminds us, “You have to look at each person individually — not just where they’re from — and give them a chance.”Share
Here at CAP, we know our organization simply could not succeed without caring supporters like you — and our dedicated volunteers. Without the passion for service displayed in so many of our volunteers, CAP programs wouldn’t be able to touch nearly as many lives of people in need in Appalachia. Each spring, students from colleges and universities around the country join CAP for WorkFest in eastern Kentucky to repair the homes of folks in need. These students sacrifice their spring break to help others.
When there is a particular volunteer who reaches the hearts of many CAP employees and participants, we love to share their story. Don Miller, 16-year WorkFest veteran, is this special brand of volunteer.
Not only has he been helping repair homes for the past 16 years, this year he brought in his son Terry and grandson John to experience the joy of volunteering. Three generations of Millers came to serve alongside Robert Moore, Crew Leader for CAP’s Home Repair program in Sandy Valley. When Don asked about bringing his family, John and Terry were booked to stay for one of the three weeks of WorkFest — but in the end, John ended up working with Don for all three weeks!
Robert has had the pleasure of working with Don for many years during WorkFest. “He’s a dedicated servant,” said Robert, adding that Don’s passion for the participants and the work of repairing their homes is evident.
He noted how Don is fully committed to the program and even more so to the college students who forgo a spring break each year to rebuild homes for people in need. Robert also said Don brings a video camera to film the experience each year, allowing students to capture their memories as well. At the end of the three weeks, Don mails out a copy to the group of 40-plus volunteers.
Don’s impact is not only felt for the three weeks of WorkFest alone; it extends significantly longer. Harold Underwood, CAP’s Director of Volunteers and
Christian Partners, said, “Don intentionally engages with the WorkFest college students, and it amazes me how they stay connected through the years.” Harold went on to say that Don learns everyone’s name, usually by the second day. Since WorkFest keeps volunteers coming back year after year, many of the same volunteers are reunited each spring.
One volunteer who is truly inspired by Don and hisfamily’s participation in WorkFest is Matt Wilton, a CAP long-term volunteer with the Johnson House in the Sandy Valley Region. Matt has been volunteering since August 2014, and he said that this year’s WorkFest event was the most fun he has had in the nine months he’s been here, due greatly to his experience with the Millers.
“Having Don and his son and grandson here made me wish that I would have been able to [volunteer] with my own father and grandfather,” he said. At the end of the three weeks, Matt added that he, along with the other volunteers, felt that Don had become a grandfather figure to them all. He also remarked that Don’s gentle spirit and obvious love for teaching had been an incredible blessing to him, as this was his first WorkFest and he was a bit nervous about the whole thing.
Teaching students the valuable skillset of home repair wasn’t the only lesson Don instilled in the group. Matt said that he truly set the tone for each week, making the CAP home repair participant laugh with his jokes and bringing a spirit of kindness into the home. A strong work ethic brought the team up another level, Matt added, saying that despite the fact that Don is a grandparent, he could easily outwork everyone.
“You don’t really meet many people like him in a lifetime,” Matt said. “He was a great leader and a kind person. I will never forget him and hope to run into him again.”
For more information about WorkFest and how you can volunteer with or donate to CAP’s WorkFest program, please call 1-800-755-5322 or visit ChristianApp.org/vol/missiontrips/workfest.Share
This spring, melting snow and heavy rains in some Appalachian regions caused homes to fill with nearly five feet of water and sewer systems to overflow. In Wayne County, West Virginia flooding caused extensive damage and families were forced to stay and suffer such unfortunate conditions because they had no place else to go.
As soon as Christian Appalachian Project got these reports, our disaster relief team rushed to meet the needs of our displaced brothers and sisters there. It was heartbreaking to know that the few possessions struggling Appalachian families owned had been lost or damaged. While we will never be able to replace their cherished belongings, we made sure each family had clean water, healthy food, medicine, and other necessities.
CAP provides immediate assistance to Appalachian areas sustaining damage from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other major catastrophes. Our staff, long-term volunteers, and community volunteers provide assistance in homes and with property clean up and repair.
They also distributed needed supplies. Our disaster relief program works with a variety of federal, state, and local agencies to devise and implement innovative strategies to improve disaster preparedness and assistance. These strategies address needs specific to rural areas and people, particularly children, who are traumatized by such devastating events.
The disaster relief team worked underneath one home, pulling out insulation that had extensive damage. The homeowners worked alongside the team, cleaning up the yard and tearing out the carpet inside their home. As the group joined together for prayer at the end of the day, the homeowner thanked CAP for helping. He began to cry as he told us that CAP had been the only people that had been there to help. In another home, removing damaged drywall was the task at hand. The matriarch of the family had a stroke about 20 months ago and is disabled.
Her husband is an amputee. He lost a leg a few years ago from an infection. This family was extremely thankful for the help CAP was able to offer, thanks to supporters like you. Their son and two grandsons had already taken out the flooring and furniture, and they worked with the CAP team to tear out the drywall, insulation, and tile flooring, and then sprayed for mold. Please pray for those impacted by the flooding in West Virginia, who continue to struggle from its aftermath, as well as the CAP disaster relief team, who is dedicating their time and energy to help families in desperate need.Share