APPALACHIA SERVICE PROJECT (ASP)
Making Homes Safer Warmer and Drier and Transforming Lives! That is the mission of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). And for the for the past 7 years, several youth and adult members of the St.Matthew’s community have been traveling down to Appalachia to help support that mission. The trip is a large undertaking and we have been participating through Northminster Presbyterian church in Evanston. This past summer, 140 people went on the trip to Harlan and Knox counties in Kentucky, with 15 of us from St.Matthew’s (9 youth and 6 adults).
Our projects included replacing floors, building roofs, replacing siding, building porches and steps, just to name a few. While there was some downtime in the evenings, in general the work days were long and hot, and you came home dirty and longing for a shower (and often that shower was out of hot water!) Despite any hardships, everyone kept up their positive energy and focused on the impact we were making for our homeowners.
There are many reasons people have for going on the trip. Here are a few of the reasons from the St.Matthew’s participants:
"ASP is one of my favorite parts of summer because of all the amazing relationships that we build and all the new things I can try”
“the ability to work hard on deserving people's homes and see what you have done at the end of the week is an incredible feeling and experience."
"I went on the trip this summer to give back in a small way to those in need and to spend time with my kids as they encounter situations much different than they would experience back here in Evanston.”
“I love the companionship, compassion and the confidence this trip inspires in everyone that participates.“
“It struck me how much trust the families place in the ASP volunteers and the process in general. They open their homes and lives to a bunch of strangers at a time that they extremely vulnerable”
“It was a very moving experience and I continue to process what I saw, what it says about our society and how much work is still to be done."
In addition to the actual trip, which historically has taken place in June, there were a number of team building and fund raising activities in the 7 months leading up to the trip. Those activities helped people get to know each other and helped everyone to understand the impact of the trip and how best to adjust to the conditions we may find in Appalachia. The fundraisers helped us raise the hundreds of dollars per person that it takes to support the trip.
If you are interested in participating in the 2019 ASP trip, contact Mike Muyres.
ASP Mission Location