APPALACHIA – (April 13, 2022) Students from around the country spent their spring break in Appalachia repairing homes in Eastern Kentucky which marked the 30-year anniversary of WorkFest with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP). This week of service helped 11 participant families with repairs that were to extensive or expensive to complete on their own.
“It was a blessing to our teams and participants to have WorkFest this year after having to scale back or cancel the past few years because of COVID,” said Bryan Byrd, director of CAP’s Home Repair Program.
“Until you have experienced WorkFest, you can't understand the feeling of community and satisfaction it brings. Everyone involved was craving the opportunity to get on with the mission this year. I'm proud of the work our teams did to prepare for WorkFest to make it a special event.”
Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, OH has not missed a single WorkFest and neither has Ken Stuber, a CAP crew leader. He teaches students and their leaders how to make basic home repairs like putting in new windows, building a ramp, fixing a roof, or putting on siding.
“A lot of the students come in unskilled, my job is to train them and keep them safe. Their week of service along with our full-time home repair staff allows us to serve more participant families,” Stuber said. “The college students inspire our participant families because it surprises them that these students would spend their spring break to come help in Appalachia. I have not missed a year and I still love seeing the groups come together. At the end of the week, they get to see what they’ve done and there are bonds created like they have known each other for a lifetime.”
This year, 78 college students and school leaders joined with 40 skilled, short-term volunteers, and 13 one-year volunteers with CAP to work on 11 homes. They completed 13,670 volunteer hours.
Christian Appalachian Project also hosts an alternative spring break for high school students called YouthFest. As COVID protocols lift throughout the nation, schools are starting to return. This year, Father Vincent Capodanno High School in North Carolina attended YouthFest for the first time with six students, a teacher, and the school principal. They made repairs on the home of a senior who needed safe access in and out of her home. The high schoolers built a small porch and a ramp to make her home safe, warm, and dry.
“It makes me feel like I am useful. These families need more than the things I take for granted,” said Jozeph Capps, a student at Capodanno. “No matter how small a thing or what age you are, you can still help with big things, no matter what.”
For more information about WorkFest or YouthFest, visit CAP’s website at www.chrisapp.org.
Watch the clip below or read more about the impact of WorkFest at whas11.com.