Marji Conkwright’s undeniable passion for helping others has turned her one year of service with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) into four fruitful years.
Conkwright began serving as a One-Year Volunteer Corps and AmeriCorps member through CAP’s Camp AJ in 2018. Her infectious energy, bright eyes, and pixie cut landed her the nickname Tink, and she quickly found enchantment there.
“I think my favorite part of camp is campfires, making s’mores and singing silly songs,” Conkwright said. “It is truly magic.”
She began a long-term service with Camp AJ, ending in July, that included assisting with art and math at Sand Gap Elementary in Jackson County.
Conkwright is a professional artist, with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts drawing and printmaking and a minor in child psychology. She earned a master’s degree in nonprofit management and community development from Eastern Kentucky University. She enjoys teaching traditional Appalachian arts and craft making to children.
“When serving with CAP’s Youth Empowerment Services, I absolutely loved being involved in children's lives and seeing light and life shine through as you empower them through positivity and love,” she explained.
Conkwright volunteered with several of CAP’s programs. She served at Grateful Bread Food Pantry during the pandemic shutdown. The Paducah native also served at a distribution center CAP managed in Western Kentucky in response to deadly tornadoes that impacted the area.
Conkwright and her husband Charles serve at the Foley Mission Center, too—Marji as a volunteer and Charles as an AmeriCorps member. “I love meeting the volunteer teams coming in to help home repair and hear their stories as they interact with the participants and see how both they and their participants' lives are changed through service in Appalachia,” Conkwright said.
“CAP has challenged me, stretched me, shown me the greatness of joy in the faces of the people I see every day and the depths of grief felt by generations trapped in poverty, drugs, and food insecurity,” she said. “I truly call this place home now, it holds my heart.”
After July, she and Charles will travel and visit their adult daughters and family. “I'm really not sure if it'll be more service or just time to resettle and concentrate on family. The Lord orders my steps and knows my plans; He knows my future. As long as I know that I take each day and live it to the fullest knowing that the day is never guaranteed, I know I have not squandered precious time.”
Story by Shannon Holbrook.