The youth, young adults and adult sponsors who are traveling to Kentucky next month for Northminster’s 2017 Appalachian Service Project trip are in the midst of final fundraising and preparations.
We thought you might like to hear how this trip has affected one of our young adults. The following are excerpts from a statement prepared by Bill Swales, a five-year veteran on ASP.
When I was in high school in 2011, I heard about ASP at Northminster from two of my friends, Dan Lenz and Patrick Benn who had gone on that year’s trip. After they got back from the trip, they told me how what an amazing experience it was doing the work on the homes, meeting the families, bonding with the Northminster group, and the overall experience of being in a part of the United States that is in such severe poverty.
In 2012, I went on my first ASP trip with the church and let me tell you, it completely made me rethink all that I knew about what it meant to be poor.
The work that we did during my first year in Clinton, Tennessee engrained in me what it really meant to give back to others. That year, my work crew and I installed a new porch roof for our homeowner so she could sit outside and be shaded from the sun during the hot summers and be able stay dry when it rained or snowed.
Leaving the worksite on that Friday, the last day, made me feel sad, yet so proud because I wanted to continue to help, and I knew that what I had done had really changed that homeowners life for the better. When we finally got back to Evanston I told my parents immediately to make sure I could go the following year. …
ASP has also had an impact on my education at Wooster. Being that I am a History Major, I became very interested in the history of the Appalachia region and the poverty that still exists there today in 2017.
This summer, I will be an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund, which is a research center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that focuses on researching urban and rural poverty related issues within the state of North Carolina.
What got me here is solely my passion and experience of doing the work with ASP, meeting the families, seeing how extreme the poverty is in this beautiful region of the country, and taking the ASP experience and applying it to academics and a career interest of mine.
What motivates me right now with my I.S. at Wooster and the work I will be doing this summer is that I want to do all that I can to help those living in poverty in Appalachia, make people outside of Appalachia and in Washington D.C. aware of this issue, and work to try and find solutions to the poverty that has affected this region for decades.”