Columbia College students plan to help repair homes in Kentucky

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | 4:23 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Seventeen students and three staff members from Columbia College are preparing to spend eight days over spring break completing a service project in Appalachia.

The volunteers will help the residents of Chavies, Ky., repair homes that aren’t considered livable, making them warmer, drier and safer, according to Elizabeth Ball, director of student activities and leadership development at the college.

Partnering with the Appalachia Service Project, Columbia College is offering this alternative spring break program for the first time.

Kimberly Craig, a junior majoring in human services at Columbia College, said she wanted to do something that really mattered during spring break this year.

"I love meeting people that are from different places and backgrounds. I wanted to make a difference," Craig said. "I'm a human services major, and helping people seems to be at the very core of who I am."

Students leave March 26 and return April 2, driving both ways.

"We'll learn about the poverty, art and culture of Appalachia," Ball said. "We'll interact with the families we are paired with on a daily basis."

Prior to the departure, the participants had orientation meetings. They learned about safe tool usage and attended meetings about preparations for the trip.

"I've brushed up on my carpentry and painting skills a bit, and I've started buying the supplies I'll need for the trip," Craig said. "I just need to pack it all."

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Ellis Smith March 23, 2011 | 6:27 a.m.

I'm sure it will be a great experience for those who participate.

One of the Protestant churches has a summer program for high school student volunteers. They've been fixing up houses in Fleming-Neon*, Kentucky, located near the Virginia border and south of Pikeville, Kentucky.

Volunteers are unpaid but get transportation to and from Fleming-Neon, meals, a laundry allowance, and rustic accommodations, typically in church basements. An intensive course in basic carpentry and adult supervision, on and off the job, are provided.

Some of the Kentucky residents suffer from occupational diseases, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, etc.

*- Yes, there is a Neon, Kentucky, and you can find it in any good road atlas.

(Report Comment)
Anlan Li March 24, 2011 | 10:26 a.m.

Hi Ellis, thank you so much for sharing the information about the summer program!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 24, 2011 | 11:04 a.m.

You are welcome. I suspect, from a sample of one teenager (and her teenage work crew), that the persons who may benefit the most from these programs are the teenagers. The crew I know of came from middle and upper income Midwestern neighborhoods, and have wanted for little in their young lives. If nothing else they came home with a better appreciation of all the advantages they have had. :)

BTW the church in this case was the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), of which we have several local area congregations.

(Report Comment)
frank christian March 24, 2011 | 11:22 a.m.

"BTW the church in this case was the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), of which we have several local area congregations."

OMG! Are these some of those Christians who continually try to "force" their beliefs on other unwilling recipients? I sure hope not, everyone knows of the damage they can do to a young mind.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm March 24, 2011 | 12:38 p.m.

@ Frank

Nice attempt at politicizing a story about some young kids giving up their spring break to help those in need. Way to keep your classy image going Frank!

Try to have at least a little bit of tact, integrity and respect from time to time Frank. This kind of stuff is even low for you.

BTW, I did not read anything about religious views or evangelism in this article. If you noticed the article was all about helping others. Some Christians actually understand that Jesus was all about helping others (yes that includes the poor); you could learn a lot from these kids Frank. Maybe if you spent less time tearing things and people down and more time building things and people up you would not seem so grumpy and crazy all the time.

(Report Comment)

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