Transforming Life in Central Appalachia
Chardon Church has been participating in Appalachia Service Projects for almost 40 years. Each year, we take a group of youth to this area of the country to help those that need home repair. These trips are life-changing for our youth, and help them to grow in their faith and become stronger disciples of Jesus Christ.
ASP provides vital housing services to low-income families living in Central Appalachia as well as transformational life experiences to those we serve, volunteers offering their service, congregations involved with ASP, and entire communities.
What is ASP?
Appalachia Service Project (ASP) is a Christian ministry, open to all people, that fosters human development by addressing the housing needs of Central Appalachia. Each year through their ministry about 15,000 volunteers repair homes for 400-500 low-income families in rural areas of Central Appalachia. Their goal is to make homes warmer, safer and drier for families in need, while offering transformational experiences for families, volunteers and staff alike.
The home repairs made can take place from the ground up to the roof, and everywhere in-between. Typical repairs include: repairing roofs, building room additions, providing wheelchair ramps, installing or repairing plumbing, updating unsafe wiring, securing foundations, digging drainage ditches, constructing porches and steps, installing insulation and siding, and weatherizing homes. They even provide first-time electricity and indoor plumbing for multiple families each year.
The majority of their volunteers are high school aged youth (14 years+) who perform most of the repairs themselves under the watchful eyes and guidance of adult leaders during their summer program. The remainder of their volunteers are mostly young adult and adult volunteers participating in their non-summer program. It is truly amazing what their willing hearts and hands can accomplish. Since 1969, more than 12,500 homes have been repaired with the assistance of over 240,000 volunteers.
But ASP is more than just a home repair program. Through this process of service many lives are changed: those of the families being served, the volunteers serving, and the staff facilitating the process. Often the experience serves to enlighten everyone that the differences between us are only perceived—deep down we all want to be loved, to belong, to own something, and to create something worthwhile—no matter where we live, our economic status, education, or ethnic identity. No one walks away from the ASP experience unchanged—not families served, volunteers, or staff.
No matter what your skill level, we invite you to come experience Appalachia Service Project for yourself. To learn more about Appalachia Service Project, visit their website at http://asphome.org.
Where ASP Serves
Appalachia Service Project serves the mountainous Central Appalachian region where Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia come together. All of the areas we serve have poverty rates well above the national average, and many of the counties are classified as “distressed” by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The communities in which ASP serves generally have poverty rates up to three times the national average. One in four (25.04%) people live in poverty in these areas.
In the Central Appalachian region we serve…
- 8,500 homes lack adequate kitchens
- 9,000 homes lack complete plumbing
- Nearly half of the families have household incomes below $20,000
- One in four lives below the poverty level–more than 50,000 children, 90,000 adults, & 15,000 elderly
The specific communities in which ASP works vary slightly from year to year based on areas of greatest need, availability of facilities to house the volunteers, and many other factors. However, ASP always works in each of the communities in which their Housing Services Centers are located: Lee County, VA; Perry County, KY and Wyoming County, WV, and they typically work in an additional 22 communities each summer. ASP also works year-round in their hometown area, Johnson City, Tennessee (Carter, Sullivan & Washington counties, TN) – through our Good Neighbors program.