Students lend a hand to raise hope in West Virginia

By defaultuser
March 15, 2001

Janice Funk

by Amy Gassen and Renee Tomcanin

Fresh country air mixed with a rippling mountain view served as the backdrop for 40 students, campus ministers John Dimucci and Mary Laver, and Father Steve Albero, campus chaplain. These voyagers traveled to West Virginia for a week of community service.

Project Appalachia, the community service spring break trip sponsored by campus ministry, took place from Sat., March 3 until Fri., March 9. The trip was broken up into two separate sites of service.

Union and East Bank served as the home bases for the separate sites.

Fourteen students and Mary Laver, campus minister traveled through Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia to Union, W. Va.

The volunteers in Union stayed at St. Andrews and were housed by Sister Molly.

The students worked at two main sites. For half of the week, an old school in Greenville was painted. For the other half, the group worked on building a house.

While at the school in Greenville, students stripped, cleaned and repainted the cafeteria, gym bleachers, gym walls and hallways.

Snow threatened to leave the group indoors on Tuesday, but did not succeed. Half of the group braved the snow and traveled to Greenville to paint while the other half of the group played with children at a shelter nearby.

Working on the house involved carrying multiply piles of wood, constructing the shell of a roof and assisting in the building of walls.

An additional 25 students, along with John DiMucci and Fr. Steve Albero, ventured a little further west to the town of East Bank, W. Va. Unlike in Union, the East Bank crew was divided into smaller groups and sent to different sites in neighboring communities. At each location, there was much to be done.

The first site students went to was in the Kincaid region. Here, they teamed up with members of AmeriCorps and the Southern Appalachia Labor School to help build and restore houses. In addition to gutting a house and putting up insulation, the students learned more about AmeriCorps. Many of the workers were part of a program called YouthBuild, in which teens and young adults have the opportunity of going to school for a week and then working on site the next.

Another group stayed in East Bank and helped to transform an old VFW building into a social center. The crew cleaned, fixed and painted the walls of the building. By the end of the week, their task was finished, and the building was ready to take on a new life.

Other students got to try their hands at plumbing when they were asked to help install a bathroom in a nearby home.

In addition to these sites, others completed many other important tasks. These included straightening up a thrift shop, painting and repairing ceilings, cleaning houses, tutoring and helping children with school work and fixing up holes in the side of a house.

Despite difficulty with snow cancelling work at some of the sties on Tuesday and some other uncontrollable difficulties, the volunteers at East Bank were able to help out.

Service was definitely the spirit of the trip.Through lots of hard work and determination, Project Appalachia 2001 was successful

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