Spring Break Serving in Appalachia

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Student Activities Director Tim Kessler-Cleary (far left) led the alternative spring break trip with a group of nine Caldwell students to WorkFest 2013, which is part of the Christian Appalachian project (CAP).

 

Caldwell, NJ – April 10, 2013 – While some college students make a vacation at the beach their priority for spring break, several Caldwell University students had a very different focus for their time off. They traveled to Appalachia to repair substandard housing and build new homes the poor in Appalachia.    Student Activities Director Tim Kessler-Cleary led the group of nine students for a week to WorkFest 2013, which is part of the  Christian Appalachian project (CAP). The Caldwell group joined other colleges and universities from around the country in  McCreary County, Kentucky to work  on the house renovations.

Kessler-Cleary said that every Caldwell student brought a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, energy, and dedication “and gave their all at every task they were asked to do and did so with smiles on their faces.”  The Caldwell students were able to form bonds with each other and with the students and staff from other colleges and universities.

Patrick Lehosky, a junior with a psychology major, worked on the vinyl siding for four walls and installation of a plywood subfloor. He appreciated the fact that said everyone was there for the same reason and it was a really positive community experience. It was also a “nice disconnect”, he said, “from the technology, hustle and bustle of school and work, worries about this and that.” 

“You were able concentrate on the love that you put into what you were doing,” said Lehosky. 

In the evenings the college groups joined together to reflect with the other students and share their experiences from serving the poor during the day. They also enjoyed evening activities including an Appalachia Folk Music Concert and a trip to Cumberland Falls, which is has been called the Niagara of the South.

Although the students were giving to families in need, they came away from the experience with a real sense that they had indeed been served too. “All of our students were touched deeply by the prayers and “thank you’s” of the individuals and families they helped,” said Kessler-Cleary.

“They said we were doing God’s work and that rang true to me,” Lehosky said.

The students who took part in WorkFest 2013 were:

  • Raymond Austin
  • Elizabeth Hooban
  • Robert Kolesar
  • Sarah Kithusi
  • Patrick Lehosky
  • Albert Mensah
  • Chris Ochs
  • Jaimie Peter
  • Michael Ward

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