Academy Men Return to the Appalachia Service Project
November 2, 2021
A group of Christian Brothers Academy students traded a week of classroom work for a week of a different set of tasks.
Eight students traveled to southwestern Virginia to assist with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).
The ASP is an organization that brings thousands of volunteers from around the country to rural Central Appalachia to critical repair homes for low-income families. It is a Christian ministry that is open to all, with the goal of making “warmer, safer and drier” homes for those who need them.
The mission of ASP is very similar to that of CBA and the Brothers of the Christian Schools in that these communities share the value of making all individuals feel accepted, support the fair and just treatment of people, and believe in serving those who are less fortunate.
When the CBA group arrived, they made an initial home visit to their two job sites. The poor conditions of these home motivated the Academy men to make the most of their four days at the site. For two whole days, the students installed a brand new roof on one home, while cleaning, painting and installing appliances in a second home.
“The living conditions were brutal and I couldn’t understand how these people must feel,” sophomore Ben Tortorici said. “I am just glad that I was able to help and build them a roof so they did not have to worry about any leaks seeping through the ceiling. My group was fantastic and used great teamwork to get almost everything completed in just three working days.”
Through this experience of hard work, the boys bonded with each other, but also were educated on why there is so much poverty in this specific region. The area relies on the coal mining industry to provide jobs, but there is less and less need for expansive coal mining crews.
Service immersion trips like this have become more and more common at the Academy. Mr. Butler is always looking for new locations that need a helping hand, and sophomore Justin Young encourages all students to consider participating in a trip.
“I have never been on a trip like this and I love doing new things,” Young said. “You get to build something with your friends out in the middle of nowhere helping people. Once you are done, you feel great because you know that you helped someone who really did need you.”