BERLIN — As soon as school let out for summer, groups of Worcester Preparatory School students, parents, and faculty loaded into caravans headed to Kentucky and West Virginia as part of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).
Volunteers participated in one of three ASP church trips — The Community Church of Ocean Pines, Trinity United Methodist Church, and St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church. The ASP mission trips are part of a Christian ministry that inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair in Central Appalachia.
The Community Church of Ocean Pines group, coordinated by Worcester Prep teacher Allison Bescak, traveled to Magoffin County, Ky. for a week to repair homes and make them warmer, safer, and drier. The other two ASP groups, from Trinity United Methodist Church and St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Salisbury, traveled to West Virginia to assist families in need.
Led by Bescak, the 45 volunteers (23 from WPS) who traveled to Kentucky hosted fundraisers and collected donations from parishioners and local businesses, such as Chesapeake Eye Center, to help fund the ASP trip.
“We travel there with the hopes of changing peoples’ lives,” said Bescak, “but in reality it is our lives that are changed for the better. This is a ministry with a little construction on the side. Being uncomfortable in our own skin ultimately forces change and growth that is hard to put in words.”
This was not the first ASP trip for most of the WPS students or parents. Many have volunteered for three to four consecutive years. Reflecting on her four years with ASP, graduate Gracie Gardner added, “Knowing I am making a difference first hand, my ASP trips have truly been the best weeks of my summers. Witnessing extreme poverty in our own country, volunteering with peers my age, and bonding with families we serve, has been a life-changing experience I will never forget.”