Appalachia Service Project will explain its work

Claire Sigworth (left) and Danielle Brewi staple insulation during the repairs to a home near Damascus, Va., during the 2012 Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project.

An informational session on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church will offer details on how teens and adults can become part of Jesse Lee’s 30th year of volunteer home-repair through the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).

This no-obligation night in the church’s Carriage House will introduce high school students and their parents — and any other interested volunteers — to ASP overall, and especially to the Ridgefield ASP group based at Jesse Lee and the developing plan for this year’s mission trip June 29 through July 7.

While previous ASP volunteers are welcome, they are not expected to attend. However, they should plan to attend one of the initial rallies on March 6 and 14.

ASP is a national Christian volunteer organization founded in 1969. Since then, more than 300,000 volunteers from across the nation have participated in weeklong mission trips to make 15,000 homes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina “warmer, safer and drier.”

Appalachia Service Project is open to anyone who has completed their freshman year of high school. Adults are encouraged to volunteer — both those who have teens coming along and those who don’t.

Participants don’t have to be a member of Jesse Lee or any church, or a Ridgefielder, and or an expert with a hammer. Basic construction skills and safety rules are taught. There’s also a fund-raising component. And it helps if you like ice cream.

This is the 30th year for Jesse Lee ASP, which last summer saw near-record participation of more than 150 local students and adults, who worked in two counties in West Virginia, two counties in Virginia and one county in North Carolina.

“But ASP is about more than swinging a hammer,” said Peter Seirup, a member of the Jesse Lee ASP Council. “We like to say that it’s a relationship ministry, with a little home repair on the side. That’s because volunteers are encouraged to spend time with the family they’ve serving. And that connection has a huge lasting impact — as much on the families in Appalachia as on the volunteers from Ridgefield.”

For more details, go online to or call Linda Shackelford at 914-763-8165.

Past volunteers

While new volunteers can attend an informational meeting tonight about joining the 2013 Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project, the local ASP group also is hoping to reconnect with participants from throughout its 30-year history.

As part of its 30th-year celebration, Jesse Lee ASP wants anyone who ever participated in a mission trip to reunite this year behind a float in the town’s Memorial Day Parade.

“More than 1,100 people have volunteered with Jesse Lee ASP over the years, which is a remarkable tribute to the local organization and to the people of Ridgefield and surrounding communities,” said Peter Seirup, a member of the local ASP council. “We’re hoping that a lot of them can come together on May 27 for the parade and a big reunion barbecue afterward.”

Contact information for past ASP participants is being collected by Linda Shackelford at (914) 763-8165 or [email protected]



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