Caldwell, N.J., April 4, 2016 – For Caldwell University student Cindy Pineros, a highlight of her workweek in Appalachia came when she witnessed a man named Anthony roll out of his house and down a ramp that she had helped to build. “He was so happy and thankful,” said Pineros. She explained that Anthony had not been able to leave his house without assistance since his home had no wheelchair ramp.
Pineros, a nursing and biology student, and six other Caldwell students joined students from other universities March 19 to 25 for the Christian Appalachian Project’s Work fest Alternative spring break program. They helped rebuild homes for low-income families in eastern Kentucky.
Yashant Gyawali, a sophomore majoring in computer information systems at Caldwell, helped build a porch for an elderly woman who lived alone. He was happy to be “introduced to new power tools … I was fixing windows, drilling, up on ladders.”
Catie Mulick, also a nursing student at Caldwell, did roofing and put paneling on a family’s house. She was struck most by the way the little girls were proud to show them around even though they had the bare minimum. “They were not embarrassed or ashamed at needing help from college students.”
It was a week of hard work, cold temperatures and a scramble to get a shower. “Waking up at 5:45 or 6, 40 to 50 girls using eight showers,” said Pineros.
The work groups were set up so that each Caldwell student was in a team with students from other colleges, which “forced you out of your comfort zone,” said Pineros. Gywali was happy to make friends from Caldwell and other schools. The pretty hills, mountains and lake reminded him of his beloved Nepal.
Getting used to being away from technology and their phones took a short adjustment, but after that they welcomed the freedom. “It was a nice cleanse … I was upset to get the service back,” said Mulick. “It was such a relief to detach,” said Pineros.
The other Caldwell students who attended were Kevin Fernandez, Charlotte Genthe, Dohee “Jenn” Han and Justice Baskin.
The chaperones were Mason Traino, an admissions counselor, and Patrick Lehosky, an alumnus who attended CAP as a student. The group stayed at Camp AJ in McKee, Kentucky.