By Hannah Gobin
I sit here on this old picnic table, looking out across the valley to a kudzu-covered ridge and I am reminded of the Kentucky beauty that surrounds me. Not just the landscape but the people as well. I came here to share hope with the elderly in Appalachia and instead I was given hope by the elderly in Appalachia. I started this year of service at Christian Appalachian Project, and finished it with a quote from a mentor and friend, “the work will get done, but people are important.”
My placement at CAP was in Elderly Services. I started out in casework and transitioned to elderly home repair. In both casework and housing I served the elderly population by providing a ride to the doctor or store, building a ramp for easier access, and providing minor home repair. These are some of the many ways that I as a CAP AmeriCorps member was of service to my participants.
I quickly realized though that the biggest service provided to our participants was relationship. We are all in need of this basic necessity and often times go without it. Of course, participants love it when you can take them to the store, but they love it more when you listen and share your life with them.
On one occasion, I remember a participant who we helped tidy up around her house. This wonderful woman had every reason in the world not to be joyful, but joyful she was. She told us of her heartbreaks and hardships. She told us how the arthritis was slowly keeping her hand from functioning like it once had. Yet, she didn’t let any of it get her down. I still remember the smile on her face as we sang the chorus to her favorite Garth Brooks song.
As my time at CAP comes to an end, I think on my friend’s quote about the importance of people – “the work will get done, but people are important.” My life has forever been impacted by stories that participants have shared. The laughter, tears, and memories will not be forgotten, no matter how far I go.
Hannah Gobin is serving as an AmeriCorps Home Repair Crew Member and living in the Johnson Volunteer Community. She is a 2016 graduate of Johnson University. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program.