ASP offers transformational volunteer opportunities for adults and youth throughout the year. More than 15,000 volunteers from around the country served with ASP in rural Central Appalachia last year, repairing homes for low-income families. But ASP is more than just a building program. Yes, Appalachia’s poorest families urgently need your help, but they can help change your life, too.
Through their eyes, you’ll see yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be. Compassionate. Committed. With the power to make a difference.
We like to say that our goal is to make homes “warmer, safer and drier” for needy families. And for more than 50 years, we’ve done exactly that for thousands of families. Yet for all that, we are only able to serve one in ten families who apply to us for help. We need many, many more volunteers to make a lasting dent in Appalachian poverty.
Days filled with prayer, work, fellowship, and praise offer the chance to build new friendships and strengthen your group.
We provide emergency home repairs for nearly 650 families each year. We repair floors, repair roofs, build additions, and tackle other critical needs. By the work we do and values we witness, our volunteers restore hope to those caught in long-term poverty.
ASP is an immersive service experience. You’ll return home with a passion for service, a renewed compassion for other people, and a fresh appreciation for your place and purpose in this world.
ASP is open to anyone who is at least 14 years old. 13-year-olds may also attend as long as they have completed the 8th grade.
Volunteers come as a group, and each group must plan to divide into work crews. Typical work crew sizes are 7 volunteers for youth groups (5 youth and 2 adults) or 5-7 volunteers for adult groups. Each work crew is then assigned to a separate project.
Volunteers work on a variety of different projects, including tasks such as strengthening foundations, patching leaks, fixing roofs, building walls, repairing stairs, digging flood channels, installing plumbing, and painting exteriors. No matter how much building experience you have, we will match your group’s skill level to an appropriate project.
Your project will be assigned at least a week in advance of your trip. However, most assignments involve you picking up where another team has stopped. That means factors such as weather mean our estimates are continuously changing.
Your center staff will review project details with your group contact person by phone the week before your trip, along with your construction skill assessment, to insure your group is properly matched to the project they’ve identified for you.
2:30-5:00 pm Arrive at your center; register; meet other groups.
5-5:30 pm Staff introductions; review center rules and expectations; daily schedule; Review community information, center chores, etc.
6 pm Dinner
7 pm Construction meeting (safety review; overview of family files/project assignments)
11 pm Lights-out; rest for a wonderful experience
7:00-8 am Rise and shine, devotions, breakfast
8:30-4:30 pm Work day with Noon lunch break at the work site.
5-6 pm Crew check-in for project updates, supply requests, etc.
6-7 pm Dinner
7-10 pm Center clean-up; evening activities (a time of fellowship, reflection, sharing, singing, playing, sometimes with a guest speaker, local musician or artist, or other special event); free time
10:30-11 pm Quiet time; settle in for a well-deserved sleep
11 pm Lights-out
7-10 am Pack, center clean-up, and “good-bye”.
ASP serves in five states across Central Appalachia: Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Our center locations change each year to meet local needs. We own three facilities and partner with communities to rent schools, community centers, and other public spaces in each county. These various facilities are where your group will eat, sleep, and shower. Details about our summer centers are posted each April.
In each of the counties where we serve, we rent schools, community centers and other public spaces. In these facilities, volunteers sleep on the floor using air mattresses or cots and sleeping bags.
The cost is $350 per person for a week of service, or $70 per day (starting 1/1/2020) for shorter trips.
ASP provides the essentials of the trip, freeing you to focus on ministry with families and within your team. Your fees include:
Any fees already paid will not be refunded if you cancel your participation. The balance of fees paid will not be refunded and will not be applied to a future trip as expenses incurred by ASP do not change should you have need to cancel your planned trip. Both the group application fee and the volunteer deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable to any other fee. Your $95 application fee will be refunded only if ASP cannot schedule your group.
Groups provide their own transportation to and from Appalachia, and to and from the worksite each day. Each work crew must have its own vehicle – a van is best for hauling people and supplies. If your total group size is 21, you have 3 crews and must have 3 vehicles.
ASP provides tools at each of your centers. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own tools. The ASP staff will purchase supplies from the local hardware store each morning and will deliver them to the worksites throughout the day. ASP is committed to making an economic investment in the communities we serve by supporting local businesses.
The ASP staff at your center will be available to provide guidance and instructions while you are there and at the worksites but they will not be at your worksite throughout each day. Your group leaders will function as worksite managers and communicators. An assigned construction consultant will be available at various times during the week to inspect your progress with your project. The ASP Home Repair Coordinator will also be available at all times to inspect the progress with your project or address any concerns you may have.
Safety is of utmost importance at ASP. ASP requires that every volunteer be equipped with safety goggles and ear protection while on a worksite. For projects that involve demolition, N95 dust masks will be required. If groups are not equipped with these items, ASP is prepared to provide them.
Minor injuries can occur so we ask that all groups spend time in their pre-trip activities to increase everyone’s awareness of operating safely while at the worksite and while at the center. The ASP Safety Manual is provided to help you with this preparation.
Note: ASP screens each worksite and signs a covenant with each homeowner to ensure a safe and friendly environment for all volunteers.
ASP’s founder, Tex Evans, created ASP not to solve poverty issues in Appalachia, but to change lives. Each evening the staff leads an Evening Gathering, or “EG.” There are many parts of an EG: mixers, singing, sharing, storytelling, teaching, learning, scripture, and prayer. Each part helps us process our experience in our minds, hearts, and lives. The EGs are opportunities to process your experience, learn about Appalachian life, or spend time with the families you are serving. You’ll even experience a night of Appalachian culture – a local storyteller or bluegrass band.
And you’ll have free time to relax and play. There is some down time after the EG. We encourage you to spend time with your own group, get to know other volunteers, reflect on your ASP experience, or read. Volunteers may have the opportunity to play basketball, Frisbee, run, or just hang out. Going to the local ice cream shop is another big part of ASP culture. It’s also a great way to boost the local economy, bond with your group, and meet local folks.
Cell phone coverage is very spotty throughout the area we serve. There is cell phone coverage in many of our centers. There is no WIFI coverage at our centers during the summer, and limited WIFI during the year-round program.
We encourage you to use your cell phone only for emergencies. An important part of the ASP experience is transporting yourself away from your everyday life, and immersing yourself in your experience in Central Appalachia.
ASP is a Christian organization founded by a United Methodist minister. We believe that regardless of geography, education, or economic class, we are all equal members of the family of God, and we are called to share His love. When we move to help those in need, God moves in our hearts. As a Christian ministry committed to ‘faith in action’ we believe it is important to start and end the day by gathering to give thanks to God. Evening programming focuses on the role of faith in our lives and in our future.