Over this past year I have been gearing up to go on a service project called Appalachia Service Project (ASP). This volunteer organization provides low income families who cannot afford home repairs the opportunities to make their homes warmer, safer and drier. Volunteers raise money in various ways and also must have enough volunteer hours in order to go. I knew that I wanted to go on ASP at least once, but once I started to fundraise, I realized I was a bit overwhelmed with meeting many people I had never met before. We had to meet before the trip and I felt out of place and uncomfortable, because this was my first year and they split rookies into a separate group from the experienced participants.
We traveled to Leslie County, Kentucky to help out the families we were assigned to and before we started working on my family’s house, I was able to go and meet them. Only one person in each group can meet them so I was excited and nervous at the same time, still unsure about how the whole week long trip would go.
When I finally got to their house after having been driven 20 minutes on curvy roads up a mountain, crossing very rickety bridges, I walked up the stairs to their deck, where the family of four was standing to welcome us. They gave us the biggest hugs I had ever received and were so thankful that we were about to start the process of fixing their bathroom which was in much needed repair.
As the week went on, they would come and go from the house and bring us back ice cream sandwiches or popsicles from a nearby grocery store. It was this moment that I realized it is not the person who gives $20 and already has $5 million that really matters. It is the person who gives two dollars and only has those two dollars to give, that kind of person was these people.
All in all, I am extremely grateful for the experience as it taught me that if you stay in your comfort zone your whole life, you will never live to the fullest or experience the same opportunities.