Sharing with Appalachian People (SWAP)

The time in Appalachia will be coordinated by SWAP, a Mennonite Central Committee program that serves low-income families. SWAP addresses sub-standard housing in eastern Kentucky. Participants will work with and for local homeowners, building relationships that serve to enrich all involved.

Students will do a range of work from painting and fixing leaky roofs to assisting with home additions and renovations, all the while getting acquainted with the families whose homes are being repaired. Students will be challenged to compare their own lifestyles, values, hopes and dreams with those of the people we meet and work with each day.

The experience will incorporate a variety of assignments, such as working at a local Mennonite Church camp and reforestation and trail work, as well as visits to cultural sites and events, hiking in an old growth forest, and presentations by musicians, folklorists and others. These combined experiences will familiarize us with the social and environmental effects of the coal mining industry and other challenges faced by residents of the region.

Note: While we are planning toward cross-cultural experiences in May 2021, we will need to continue to monitor evolving conditions in the United States and other countries in the Spring. There may be requirements for vaccinations that could emerge over the next months. We will stay in communication with students.

Leaders: Darryl Nester and John Burkhart
Dates: May 15-30, 2021
Program fee: $1,250
Deposit: $300 due Nov. 20
14 students

Elaine Suderman, Asst. Director of Cross-cultural Programs