Appalachia Service Project

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Appalachia Service Project, Inc
Founded 1969
Founder Rev. Glenn "Tex" Evans
Type Interdenominational, non-profit Christian Mission
62-0989383
Location
  • 4523 Bristol Highway
    Johnson City, TN 37601
Area served
Central Appalachia, specifically in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Employees
34
Volunteers
16,267
Slogan "warmer, safer, and drier"
Website Official Website

Appalachia Service Project or ASP is a non-governmental organization which was founded in 1969. ASP addresses substandard housing using volunteer labor to perform repairs to make homes “warmer, safer, and drier.” ASP operates in Central Appalachia, specifically in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The mission statement of ASP is “Appalachia Service Project is a Christian ministry, open to all people, that inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair in Central Appalachia,” and ASP’s vision is that “substandard housing in Central Appalachia will be eradicated and that everyone who comes into contact with this ministry will be transformed.” Repairs are made using volunteer labor and at no cost to the homeowner. Between 1969 and 2015, ASP hosted 377,412 volunteers and performed repairs on 17,373 homes.[1]

History[edit]

ASP was founded in 1969 by Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans, who emphasized the importance of providing service to those in need “right where they are, just the way they are.” While working as a director at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky, Evans recruited 50 adults and teens to repair four homes in Barbourville, Kentucky. This initiative has evolved into the Appalachia Service Project, which currently mobilizes between 16,000 and 17,000 volunteers each year to provide repairs to more than 500 families.[1] In the following year, ASP mobilized 387 volunteers who repaired 50 homes, working out of two centers.

In the following years, ASP continued to deploy more volunteers, and in 1976, ASP expanded geographically and sponsored work crews in Arkansas, California, Alabama, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Kentucky. Although ASP decided to return to its Central Appalachian roots the following summer, the Sierra Service Project in California because a successful spin-off and still exists today. ASP was also incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit in 1976. ASP also expanded its ministry in the following years by sponsoring regional workshops across the country to educate volunteers about the issues of poverty, history, and the culture of Appalachia. These workshops brought volunteers together to discuss their experiences.

Three years after Tex Evans’ death in 1978, ASP build the Tex Evans Memorial Supply Ranch in Lee County Virginia to house vehicles, building materials, and tools. At this time, the ASP administrative office was also moved from Nashville, TN to Johnson City, TN. At this time, ASP employed 5 full-time staff members. Two years later, ASP established the Jonesville Housing Services Center in Lee County, VA. The staff of the Jonesville Center worked closely with local churches, civic groups, social service agencies, and schools to promote the services provided by ASP and to enlist local support and volunteers. A local advisory council composed of 12 Lee County residents was created to support and facilitate the development of center programs. The extensive home rehabilitation program implemented by the staff at Jonesville was available to low-income homeowners, and financing up to $25,000 was permitted for each home, with homeowners paying for the repairs at 0% to 3% interest for twenty years.

In 1985, ASP implemented the Home Building Program to provide new homes built by ASP staff and volunteers at 0% interest with a 20 to 25-year mortgage, and from 1985 to 1989, ASP built an average of 1.25 homes per year. In 1990, however, a local carpentry crew was hired to expand ASP’s home building capabilities. In partnership with local residents of Lee County, ASP established the “Neighbor-to-Neighbor” Program, which allowed low-income residents to contribute volunteer labor for ASP in exchange for building materials. ASP also created a tool library for local residents to enable them to make their own repairs.

In 1989, ASP celebrate its 20-year anniversary and launched a capital funds campaign to finance the purchase of a warehouse in Johnson City, TN, a mechanic’s garage to service ASP’s fleet of vehicles, the purchase of land and the construction of a new volunteer facility in Jonesville, and the purchase and renovation of a facility for ASP’s second year-round housing services center in Perry County, Kentucky. ASP began to develop their third year round center, in Brenton, WV, in 1996, when the Wyoming County, WV School Board offered ASP the permanent use of Guyan Valley Elementary School. These two centers, in addition to ASP’s year-round center in Jonesville, remain in operation throughout the year. During 1996, ASP’s staff in Johnson City also moved from the 177 Watauga Avenue office to new administrative offices located at 4523 Bristol Highway, on the same property as ASP’s warehouse. This property continues to be used as ASP’s main headquarters today. [2]


Programs[edit]

Summer Program[edit]

Throughout the summer, ASP hosts volunteers aged 14 years and up. More than 14,000 youth, college, and adult volunteer groups come to Central Appalachian Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to perform home repairs during the months of June and July.[1] Volunteer groups perform a week a service and are housed in one of ASP's 26 "summer centers", often schools or community centers that have been leased by ASP. ASP staff provide direction for home repair projects and supply tools, construction materials, and three meals each day.

Year-Round Program[edit]

ASP operates three centers that host volunteers for a week or shorter periods of time throughout the year. The centers are located in Jonesville, Virginia; Brenton, West Virginia; and Johnson City, Tennessee.[1] Volunteers who participate in the year-round program are matched with projects to suit their skills and level of construction experience. Although year-round centers welcome youth volunteers, the program focus is geared more specifically to adult and college-aged groups, and evening programming is not required for all groups. Moreover, volunteers with the year-round program stay in facilities that are climate-controlled and offer amenities such as bunk beds and indoor showers.[1]

The operations of the Year-Round Program are supervised by ASP's "Fellows". The ASP Fellowship was first established through a donation from the [Lily Endowment], and includes seminars and activities designed to facilitate the process of vocational discernment. During their year of service, ASP's Fellows live in and immerse themselves in the community they work alongside, in addition to supervising and guiding work groups through their assigned construction projects.

College Service Project (CSP)[edit]

ASP’s founder, Tex Evans, always said: “We’d love for all ASP volunteers to come back each summer, but if they don’t because they have started this in their own community, we’d love that even more.” CSP chapters use ASP’s model for home repair to plan and complete projects in their own community.[1] CSP was launched in September, 2014 and 12 Campus Chapters are currently in operation. These chapters are student-run, student-led organizations on college campuses that are nationally affiliated with ASP. The mission statement of CSP is “College Service Project inspires students to lives of Christian service and leadership through home repair for low-income families in Central Appalachia and back in their home communities.”[1]

Students involved with CSP also volunteer with ASP and carry out a trip to one of ASP’s Year Round centers during the fall, winter, or spring; fundraise and gain community sponsorship in order to raise the funds necessary to complete their projects; and recruit volunteers from within their community as well as potential applicants for ASP’s Summer Staff program. Furthermore, members of CSP chapters are encouraged to serve with their communities in other ways that promote social justice and are compatible with the guiding principles of ASP. [1]

In addition, CSP provides college students with the opportunity to develop professional skills outside of a classroom setting. The various activities performed by CSP chapters provide students with hands-on experience in construction management, community development, marketing, grant writing, fundraising, recruitment, and volunteer management.

New Build Appalachia[edit]

Launched in response to flooding in the Dry Creek and Cash Hollow communities of Washington County, TN in August 2012,[3] ASP's New Build program builds replacement homes for low-income families whose homes are beyond repair or have been destroyed by natural disasters.[1]

Special Initiatives[edit]

Race to Build[edit]

Race to Build is an annual event hosted by ASP in partnership with the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. During the Spring Race in 2016, volunteers from as far north as Washington DC, down to Tri Cities, Tennessee, came together to build a home for a veteran, his wife, and two adopted children at the speedway. Volunteers were challenged to push the limits of how quickly it would be possible to build a house. In just one week, the house was completely built and furnished, and was dedicated on the morning of the Food City 500.[4] After construction was completed, the home was moved to a permanent location for the family.

Looking to the future, ASP will continue to partner with the Bristol Motor Speedway to create spin-offs of this event. In Spring of 2017, three colleges will compete to build a house as quickly as they can in just 3 ½ days. They will be measured on speed, accuracy, safety, and other factors, and the winning college will bring home a scholarship and claims to first place

Rebuilding Rainelle[edit]

Rebuilding Rainelle is a long-term flood recovery project for the community of Rainelle, West Virginia and surrounding towns, which will focus on building low-maintenance, energy efficient homes to replace homes destroyed by the June 23, 2016 flood in West Virginia. This program will be implemented by ASP in partnership with Homes for West Virginia and St. Bernard Project.[5] [1] These homes will be built by a combination of volunteers and subcontractors who will be managed by ASP staff operating out of Rainelle, WV.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • News Article, Rainelle[1]
  • News Article, land acquisition[2]
  • News Article, Kingsport, TN [3]
  • Tex Evans Video[4]


See also[edit]