Greenfield Hill Church’s Summer Appalachia Service Project Continues to Attract Fairfield Youth Who Give Back

Sponsored by Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 2014 Marks the 37th Straight Year and the Largest Contingent of Participants to Date

asp crew

FAIRFIELD, Conn., June 17, 2014 –Scores of youth volunteers and chaperones from Fairfield and surrounding towns will once again volunteer a week of their summer vacation to participate in the Appalachia Service Project (ASP), a hands-on home repair and home building ministry that was founded to   help to low-income families in rural Central Appalachia.  This year marks the largest contingent of local participants, with over 200 volunteers from the Fairfield area.

For the 37th year, Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (GHCC) is sponsoring the trip which has become a tradition of service for its church members and for the broader community.  During the early morning hours on Saturday, June 28th, 155 youths and 64 adults will depart from GHCC and will travel to rural Appalachia to spend a week repairing homes of those who are facing poverty in the region.   The teens, all members of GHCC’s high school youth fellowship group, ‘SPF’, will be participating in ASP’s efforts to provide families in Appalachia with homes that are “warmer, safer and drier.”  All the youth are members of GHCC’s high school fellowship, ‘SPF’, which welcomes teens from throughout the community and across all denominations.  The adult leaders include parents of the youth participants, and interested community members.

The crews from GHCC will be volunteering in  West Virginia’s Wayne and Logan Counties and the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee, and will work on a variety of projects including repairing roofs, constructing porches and steps, installing insulation and siding, just to name a few.

GHCC’s co-pastor, Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, who has organized and led the trip since 1989, says the service project trip with ASP is one of the highlights of the year. “We work with a wonderful organization, ASP, which has always believed in the capacity of young people to do more than they ever thought possible,” said Rev. Ward.  “On this trip, teens who have never picked up a saw find themselves constructing a new roof, or repairing a foundation, or laying insulation — all to improve the life of a family they’ve just met.  By the end of the week, they find that they have not only fixed a home, but that they have also discovered their own capacity for compassion, and for hard work.  In my 25 years at Greenfield Hill, the ASP trip is consistently that event which produces lasting change in our young people, and in the adults who accompany them as well.”

While the week-long mission work in Appalachia provides immense assistance to those who are improvised, it also gives volunteers, especially the youths from GHCC, a transformative experience that shapes their lives, an opportunity to interact with new people and culture, and a chance to develop a better understanding of domestic poverty.

Many of the volunteers from GHCC are making a return trip to Appalachia as they say it gives them a unique opportunity to help others and to hone new skills.

“There are a few things contributing to my return [to ASP],” said Fairfield Ludlowe High School student Logan Howard. “Come on, who doesn’t love to help people? But the second aspect that really has me coming back is the connections made. I get another group of people to meet, help, and to learn from.”

“I would say that I took away the skills of putting in flooring and crawling under a house to staple up insulation without getting it in my eyes or lungs,” said returning participant Katie Lamontagne, a Fairfield Ludlowe High School senior, when asked about what she took away from the program in 2013.  “I also learned to be kind to others and not pass judgments on their social formalities even if they aren’t what we are used to.”

Fairfield College Preparatory School student James Mangan added he decided to volunteer on the ASP trip this year because several of his friends had such a positive experience on previous missions and sees the week in Appalachia as a chance to connect with individuals who has less than he does.

“ASP is by no means a vacation and it requires a lot of hard work on everyone’s part, but I was truly moved by how, without fail, every single one of my friends who went last year recommended I sign up,” said Mangan.

The teens raise the funds to travel to Appalachia through several fundraisers including selling food at GHCC’s annual Dogwood Festival, and the Annual ASP Auction that was held in March.

For more information on the ASP project visit: http://asphome.org/.  Or go to Greenfield Hill’s website: http://www.greenfieldhillchurch.com/mission-outreach/appalachia-service-trip-asp/

About ASP

Since 1969, more than 300,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired 15,000 homes and, in the process, Appalachian families, volunteers, and staff have been immeasurably blessed. Today, with the help of 17,000 volunteers each year, their goal remains to make homes warmer, safer and drier for families in need.

About Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

The Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, founded in 1725, is located at 1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, CT and has grown to a membership of almost 1000 members.  Led by Rev. Dr. David Rowe and Rev. Dr. Alida Ward, the church is a vibrant and effective community with the feel of a small town.  Members come from many religious backgrounds and find their church home at Greenfield Hill where they are greeted with the respect and encouragement needed to grow a “can-do” spirit. With a very active mission serving others from their own backyard to halfway around the world and through a very lively Sunday school, legendary youth work, and numerous volunteer opportunities, anything is possible within the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. For more information, visit www.GreenfieldHillChurch.com or www.facebook.com/greenfieldhillcongregationalchurch, email info@greenfieldhillchurch.com or call 203.259.5596.

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