WorkFest 2014 Blog Post 3

My experience at WorkFest was amazing! I enjoyed meeting all of the other volunteers who ranged from college students to grandparents. The best part was that the family was right there working alongside us. Serving others is an awesome experience, but it was so much more rewarding when I was actually able to meet, talk with and work directly with the family in need. I learned a lot about home repair and myself. I had no idea of some of the things I was capable of. Who knew that I could run a power saw?

I enjoy working with the Christian Appalachian Project during WorkFest and serving the families in need. It is a very humbling experience to meet families who are trying to provide the best for their children and simply just need help to meet specific needs. I walked away with a full heart knowing that the floors I ripped out were going to be replaced with sturdy floors for those adorable babies to play on. I also felt a sense of pride for the siding that I helped attach to the house. Not only will the new siding give the family a sense of pride in the appearance of their home, it will help with protection from the unpredictable Kentucky weather that we live in. How great is our God that people from all over, come together to help their brothers and sisters in Christ.

WorkFest 2014
Videoblog, ep. 2

WorkFest 2014 Blog Post 2

WorkFest 2014 is flying by and an unbelievable amount of work is being accomplished! This labor of love is not only transforming distressed homes, but it is also transforming the lives of the families that live in them and the volunteers who are working so hard to make the repairs.

For the past 3 weeks, hundreds of kindhearted college students from all around the country have been donating their time on spring break to repairing distressed homes in Appalachia. They have been busy replacing roofs, siding, windows, doors, floors, ceilings, walls, and making countless other repairs. But they have also been learning important leadership skills and making new friends that will forever hold a place in their hearts.

While the home alterations are impressive, the biggest transformations are those of the families that are being helped. They are so appreciative of the volunteers’ kindness. Kim, one of the participants, says, “When I was that age, I wouldn’t have thought to go volunteer to help somebody else out. That is truly amazing. They have good hearts.”

A safe and warm home is something that many people take for granted, but it can often be out of reach for a family that is struggling to make ends meet. The gifts these students provide through WorkFest are invaluable. Although the WorkFest event takes place over a few short weeks, the ripples of each life touched will continue to grow, touching the lives of many more over the years.

We are so grateful to have had media coverage on our WorkFest efforts this year. Two Kentucky news outlets visited our WorkFest sites in Rockcastle county and Floyd county. Please see the links below for additional WorkFest updates:
Click here to see us on WYMT TV Mountain News.
Click here to see us on LEX 18.

 

WorkFest 2014
Videoblog, ep. 1

WorkFest is here!

As week one of WorkFest comes to an end, I reflect back with only fond and inspiring memories. I think the past six days have gone by more quickly than I could have ever expected. The amount of work, bonding, and spiritual growth that my fellow WorkFest volunteers and I have experienced is overwhelming.

This particular week of WorkFest was very hard. On Sunday night, we were hit with a snowstorm that resulted in almost eight inches of accumulation. Sadly, on Monday and Tuesday, we were not able to go out to the worksites, but we overcame the misfortune through prayers and the support of everyone involved. On Monday, we took advantage of the opportunity, and the students had a chance to watch a Christian Appalachian Project documentary, receive tool training, and sit in at a CAP history, culture, and poverty panel. On Tuesday, we had a team discussion and a safety fashion design-off, and we were able to enjoy and dance to bluegrass band Southland Drive’s wonderful performance.

When we were finally able to get out to the worksites on Wednesday, we sprung to work. I have never seen volunteers work with so much passion and zeal! On CAP participant Kim Dunn’s home, the Blue Team and I were able to clean the outside of the trailer, install 10 windows, dig 32 post holes, and pour concrete footers. The next day, we were able to put vinyl siding on about one-third of the house, install a new back door, and set two posts for a deck.

Now, on Thursday night, we celebrated the week. All of the participants we served and their families arrived at the Foley Mission Center with smiles and excitement for the night. The evening started off with a bang. Everyone enjoyed a thanksgiving feast made by our fabulous cooks. We had turkey, with ALL the fixings. Next, every team performed a skit, and my personal favorite was the Red Team’s interpretive dance of the week. It was a great experience to see how everyone had grown and responded to all of the adversity we encountered throughout the week.

The week of WorkFest is a journey. From the time the students and leaders arrive to when they leave on Friday morning, there seems to be a transformation of spirit. When the students, leaders, and short-term volunteers arrive, there is definitely a broad spectrum of awareness of poverty—the group ranges from people who have been to WorkFest and involved with CAP for 20+ years to people who are volunteering to serve for the first time ever.  By the time everyone says good-bye, it seems as if they are on the same page; everyone understands why serving and being in community is so important. At the closing ceremony on Friday, we joined hands in a circle and sang Chris Rice’s “Go Light Your World.” As I looked around the room, I saw tears and smiles, and I just knew that I was in the right place.

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Chris GriffithOne of CAP’s very own, Chris Griffith, accepted an award from the Kentucky Counseling Association (CKA) on October 25, 2013, at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky. Chis, our counseling manager, started his career with CAP in 1996 and has been a dedicated employee over the last 17 years. Chris, who was named Mental Health Counselor of the Year by KCA, was very humbled by the honor of receiving this award and stated, “CAP has empowered me to be the best mental health counselor I can be.  I have been given this award because CAP has allowed me to build a future, to shine and to step forward and take a leadership role.  Without CAP, no one would know me; therefore, I am eternally grateful.”

The Kentucky Counseling Association is a state branch of the American Counseling Association. KCA is an organization of counseling professionals who work in educational, health care, residential, private practice, community agency, government, business and industry settings. Their mission is very much in line with that of CAP: to enhance human development. People rise to the level of the expectations set before them and we are called to set those not only for ourselves, but for others as well. Helping others, especially children, learn the value of having dreams and setting goals for themselves is a huge step in building confidence for a better tomorrow. Accordingly, the guest speaker, Gary Geisser, sang a few inspirational songs about hope during the event, one of which included the lyrics, “the closest thing to Heaven is a child.” We at CAP are proud and honored to work alongside Chris who has dedicated his career to counseling children and families, making a difference in the lives of Appalachian families.

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semi-truckWhen a chemical spill in West Virginia last week left thousands of people without clean water, CAP’s Disaster Relief Team sprung into action. Semi-trucks holding almost 40,000 bottles of water were sent to Williamson, where they were handed out.

Without safe water to drink or cook with, local stores soon sold out. People were uncertain of where they would be able to find clean water and began to panic. When the water arrived in our trucks, it was gone almost immediately. Robyn Renner, the director of Disaster Relief at CAP states, “They said we actually prevented a riot because so many people were desperate for the water and they began getting scared about the situation.”

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