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CAP celebrates the Servant’s Servant
Most of us who chose to become involved in the mission of the Christian Appalachian Project remember why we came. We came to serve. We were ready to teach, prepared to build; and anxious to alleviate. Some came to fix; others to lead and some to save, but we all came to serve. As we recall our service here, we by and large agree that we were most deeply touched and blessed by our direct experience with the people we served. It is interesting, then, when we look at one who has served here at CAP longer than any other person in our history, to consider the role that has kept her here so long.
Daughters Erin (left) and Maureen (right) Kluesener surprised their mother, Kathy, as she celebrated her service to CAP.
Kathy O’Donnell Kluesener, '73-'80, arrived as a short-term volunteer 40 years ago serving in summer camp and home visiting. That experience was so fulfilling that she returned as a long-term volunteer, thinking she would serve in the same way. That didn’t last long after Fr. Beiting learned that she could type. She soon began what became her predominant role for the rest of her service. She assisted those who were interested in becoming volunteers, supported them while they served, and kept them connected after they left. Her role was to make sure others had a valuable volunteer experience. She became the servants’ servant. Many who remember her share that same image. Ken Stuber, ’90-’92, Director of Planning, Research and Development, remembers his first impression, "Kathy was one of the first people I met when I came to CAP nearly 24 years ago. She and Barb Delmonico, '89-'90, interviewed me before I was assigned to Summer Camp. Kathy then gave me directions to Mt. Vernon from Lancaster, making sure I understood the landmarks and driving directions that can be peculiar to this part of the country. Being a native to Kentucky, I did find Kathy’s New England’s accent a bit out of the ordinary, but I was comforted by her genuine and gentle persona." Mike Loiacono, ’97-’98, Cumberland Valley Director of Human Services, recalls "My first impression of Kathy was one of a humble servant of God and that impression has proven itself over the last couple decades. Her peaceful spirit is a touchstone that helps keep me centered when I’m around her and when I think of her." Mary Kay Gilbertson, ’83-’86, shared, "My first impression was how friendly, calm, easygoing and understanding this person was, especially with so many volunteers coming through at the time. That first impression still stands true to this day. Kathy is a key component in what continues to make CAP what it is today." In the words of Bev (Potter) Penkalski, former manager of our outreach program, "We can only guess at the positive changes in the world as a result of the ripple effect from her calm example of acceptance and guidance with each of the hundreds of individuals she has cared for and ministered to through these many years." Kathy’s ministry is preparing the way so that our ministry will be successful and fulfilling. That’s the impact of someone who had relatively little direct contact with the people most of us came to serve. That’s the immeasurable impact of a servants’ servant.
Our January orientation welcomed nine new long-term volunteers: Mary McGarvey (North Carolina), Colton Fitzjarrald (California), Bethany Geist (Georgia), Brad White (Kentucky), Connie Tae (California), Erin Bottomlee (Tennesse), Nate Algar (Connecticut); kneeling: Alanah Rempel (Colorado), and Ethan Tubach (Virginia).
In December, Family Advocacy paired the traditional Christmas Basket distributions with Christmas Stores, in which families who were not matched with a sponsor could "shop" (at no cost to the family) for toys and other donated gifts. Family Advocacy hopes to expand Christmas stores in the future.
NPR listeners may have heard a familiar voice in January. Owen Wright, Sandy Valley Human Service Director, was interviewed for a story commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s visit to eastern Kentucky to declare the War on Poverty. We’ve posted a link to the story at facebook.com/ChrisAppProj.
As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, which officially kicks off in September, CAP released a one-hour documentary, "50 Years in the Mountains," to CAP staff in February. The film was produced by Dave Harl, ’94-’96, and features interviews with Kathleen Leavell, '76-’78, Kathy Kluesener, ’73-’80, Amy Schill, ’03-’05, and Max Koch, Summer Camp 2012. The documentary will air on Kentucky public television in May, with the possibility of being picked up in other markets.
It was a time of transition in the Volunteer Program this winter. We said goodbye to several volunteers who had served within the Volunteer Program--Daniel Landesman, ’12-’13, who served as our Volunteer Recruiter, and Tina Norris, ’10-’13, Mary Johnson, ’09-’13, Liz Pecoraro, ’08-’13, and Sarah Smith, ’11-’13, who served with the Groups program. In January, long-term volunteer Kelsey Boeckermann began as our new Volunteer Recruiter. Jen Eich, ’01-’03, an employee of CAP for 10 years and on staff in the Volunteer Program as the WorkFest and Cumberland Valley Groups Coordinator since 2007, left CAP to begin a career as a mental health counselor in Somerset, Kentucky. With Jen’s departure, we welcomed Erin Cusick, ’11-’13, as our new Groups Coordinator. We wish Jen all the best and thank her for her years of service, and we welcome Erin to the Volunteer Program team.
Erin hit the ground running in March with the beginning of our 23rd WorkFest. The 2014 edition of CAP’s alternative spring break welcomed more than 400 volunteers, including more than 50 Volunteer Alumni returning as assistant crew leaders, cooks, runners, and college leaders. WorkFest served 18 families in Floyd, Rockcastle, and Jackson counties. YouthFest welcomed seven high school groups in March and April, and we were blessed to have many Volunteer Alumni participate in that event as well.
Help children prepare for school
CAP's Family Advocacy program is collecting school supplies, clear or mesh backpacks and new children's clothing for School Readiness. Contact Jenny King, '08-'10 at email@example.com for a list of needed items.
Thanks to these volunteer alumni who recently helped CAP through their recruiting, hospitality or both:
Emily Benvenga, ’12-'13 Hope Christensen, ’04 Beth Nadler, Summer Camp ’11-'12 Theresa Gilmore, Summer Camp ’12-'13 Tiffany (Ritter) Silveira, ’07-'08
(Click any picture for larger image) 1990s Kim (Otto) Kennedy, ’96-’98, is excited to share that she recently earned a double promotion this past year! She currently is a Director with Thirty-One Gifts, a faith-based company named after Proverbs 31. She loves leading her team of 20 women and counting, and with her recent promotion bonus, she treated her 4 year-old daughter and husband to a trip to Disney World in April! Kim can be reached at www.mythirtyone.com/KimLynn or KimLynnGifts@gmail.com. 2000s CAP friends Erika Hajiantoni, ’07-’09, Jenny Geilfuss, ’07-’08, Liz Koschoreck, ’07-’08, Sarah (Fackender) Peters, ’07-’08, Taye Spink, ’07-’08, and Jennie (Biser) Bryan, ’07-’08, gathered in North Carolina over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Karen Shultz, ’02-’03, and Erin Battistoni, '01-'02, were married on October 12, 2013 and reside in Massachusetts. 2010s Pam Durkhoop, ’12-’13, has committed to serving at least 2 years in South Korea with HOPE 61, a human trafficking prevention ministry. Pam will work on awareness and prevention training with pastors and church leadership in the Korean church. She will also be helping the church develop ways to reach out to people at-risk of becoming involved in human trafficking - as clients, traffickers, or victims. Pam appreciates prayers from her CAP Volunteer Alumni family as she begins this ministry. A new adventure We wish a heartfelt thank you and best of luck to Beth Dotson Brown, ’90-’91, who has served as the CAP’s Connection’s Contributing Editor for more than 15 years. She has also produced CAP’s Christian Partners newsletter. Beth recently began a position at Berea College as the Associate Director of Collaboration and Communication with the Promise Neighborhood Program. We have greatly enjoyed working with Beth to bring you the latest news from CAP and help keep you connected to the mission. Thank you Beth, and we hope you enjoy receiving your next CAP Connection and not knowing the contents beforehand!
Amy Schill, ’03-’05 Manager of Recruitment, Admissions, and Alumni
Kathy Kluesener, ’73 – ’80 Admissions Coordinator
Kathleen Leavell, ’76 – ’78 Director of Volunteers/Christian Partners