While Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) WorkFest event has been around for 30 years, not a whole lot has changed among the college students who spend their spring break in Appalachia serving through home repair projects.
“The first group that came to WorkFest came with enthusiasm, wanting to get things done,” said Ken Stuber, a CAP Home Repair Program crew leader who has had a hand in every WorkFest, whether through planning the event or being hands on with the repair projects. “The groups today are the same way. They come as strangers and bond with each other and the staff.”
As a crew leader, Stuber’s responsibility is to train oftentimes unskilled or inexperienced students how to safely use tools and complete home repair projects. For some, WorkFest is their first mission trip or service opportunity they have participated in. The help the students provide during their week of service enables CAP to open more home repair projects and ultimately serve more people and families in need.
“These young people are giving up their spring break to help me. It is inspiring,” Stuber said. “CAP is a big help to the families in this area. That’s our tradition, that’s our mission, and these students are a big part of that.”
During WorkFest, Stuber led a group of students from the University of Scranton in making repairs to a roof for an elderly woman living alone. The work needed to her home was too extensive and expensive for her to do on her own.
“I’ve never had to do home repair on my own home, but to be able to do it and know we are making a difference for this woman, and making a difference for a lot of families, it’s a great experience,” said Stephen Butler, a freshman at the university. This was his first WorkFest. “I’m getting my time away from school, but I’m also getting to help other people while I am doing it. It feels good to know we are being appreciated, but it also feels good to appreciate that we are having a chance to do this.”
Because of our volunteers and mission groups during WorkFest and throughout the year, CAP is able to serve and meet the needs of children, their families and seniors in Appalachia.
“You could go on a vacation for spring break, but this is a vacation. It’s a vacation where we get to help other people while we are doing it and having a great time,” Butler said. “There isn’t anything better than going out and doing something for another person. At the end of the day, you sit down and realize you’ve done hard work for other people because you chose to and you had a great time doing it. If you’re on the fence about volunteering, just jump over the fence. Go do it.”