In its 41st year, Project Appalachia will spend one week partnering with COAP-Christian Outreach with Appalachian People. Volunteering in Harlan, Kentucky, these students participate in home development projects for low-income families that are struggling to maintain quality living conditions.
Through this process, the students gain an enhanced understanding of the culture and the underlying causes of the economic hardship that this particular area of the Appalachian region faces. They also have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with their fellow Lasallians and the people of Harlan County.
Social Issue Focus: Adequate Housing, Rural Poverty
Forty La Salle students travel to Harlan County, Kentucky every spring and work with low-income families to provide home renovation and repair. Its mission is to have participants return with an awareness of the poverty that exists in America.
“Project Appalachia is the most memorable trip I have ever been a part of. The months leading up to the trip are full of group bonding and education about what this trip entails; however, nothing can prepare you to fall in love with Harlan. Over the past two years, I have had the honor to serve those who live in Harlan and not only gave all I had but was able to take the spirit of Harlan back with me. This trip will teach you things about humanity and yourself you never thought possible. Harlan has touched every student who traveled there and it has changed my life.”
– Carolyn Donnelly, 2013 Coordinator
“I feel at home down in Harlan. It’s strange to say that I can call a place I have only visited twice my home, but a piece of my heart belongs in Harlan. Even though Project Appalachia is a service trip, and La Salle students are going down to Kentucky to help the people there, I have been helped in return by the people in Harlan in ways they can never imagine. I am so inspired by them. They live in astonishing poverty, with little to nothing to call their own, yet they are some of the most warm and friendly people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I have learned so much from them about how to keep my life and my hardships in perspective, and I owe everything to them. It is incredible to think that in a region so depressed and impoverished you can meet individuals most people would write off as poor and helpless, but who can change your life. I think learning that is the most important part of the service La Salle students can provide on Project Appalachia: getting to know the citizens of Harlan, and realizing that they are incredible people who have as much, if not more, to offer us as we can offer them.”
– Anthony Carbone, 2013 Coordinator
“The week I spend in Harlan over spring break is, by far, my favorite week in the year. I have had the privilege to be a part of Project Appalachia during my college experience and there are no words to describe how grateful I am for the opportunity. There are many reasons to love this trip: friends, fun, waterfalls, traditions, and zip lining. My favorite, however, is the fact that I get to immerse myself in a culture outside of my own. Through this, students are given the unique chance to reflect on a community that is not provided with the same resources we are fortunate enough to have. Despite all of this, Harlan County is home to the most inspirational individuals with the greatest spirit. Along with this, the home development you are participating in serves a greater good, providing a home for those who truly need it. Project Appalachia serves as a life lesson that teaches Lasallians to love and be loved by those you would not have had the chance to meet. Because of this trip, a piece of my heart has found a home in Kentucky and with Project Appalachia as a whole.”
– Nicole Giacometti, 2013 Coordinator