Contact: Dr. Bill Bryan
P.O. Box 456
Alderson, WV 24910
Fax: 304.445.7854 (Call first)
The Alderson Ministerial Association (AMA) is a non-profit, ecumenical ministry of the local Baptist, Catholic, Church of God, Methodist, Nazarene and Presbyterian churches. The pastors of the churches serve as members and officers of the AMA. Many local congregants and community members volunteer to staff the ministries of the AMA. Ministries include a Thrift Store, a Food Pantry, benevolence assistance, work projects, and ecumenical services/fellowships during Thanksgiving, Advent, and Lent. In 2013, the AMA received the West Virginia Governor's service award for non-profit ministries. Proceeds from the Thrift Store ministry supply necessary funds for Food Pantry, benevolence, and some work project ministries. Several hundred families in Alderson and in the surrounding radius of 15-20 miles are served each year.
Alderson is a small community with about 900 residents living along both sides of the Greenvrier River in the mountains of eastern West Virginia. The community is comprised of lower economic, working class families. Individuals are employed in farming, local service sector, and at the local federal prison camp for women.
Project/Focus: Home repair projects in the community. Typical jobs include re-roofing, building and repairing porches, installing handicapped access ramps and various carpentry repairs, electrical, plumbing, and painting projects. These projects are targeted to help the elderly, economically disadvantaged, and other applicants without the means to complete the work without our assistance. Applicants are pre-screened by the AMA, and materials and work needs are assessed by a competent volunteer repair coordinator. The AMA provides necessary materials.
Teams should bring their own tools (e.g., hammers, crow bars, screw-drivers) and other equipment (e.g., electrical saws, drills, saws-all) to supplement those available from AMA in its tool room. Each teams should have at least one person competent in basic carpentry and repair work. The AMA will provide a volunteer coordinator to direct the work to be done and help the team start the project and inspect it when complete. However, an AMA volunteer coordinator will not be available to supervise the team full-time.
Educational/Advocacy Components: Team leaders will be responsible for worship and reflection services for the group each evening. Teams are encouraged to participate in the local church services of their choice during the week. If requested, evening activities and information sessions about the community can be scheduled. Social justice awareness related to the local and federal prison for women can be provided by volunteers working at the Hospitality House which serves the visiting families of those confined at the prison.
- 2 teams during June 2016
- 3 teams during July 2016 (excluding July 2-8)
- 1 team during the week of August 1-6, 2016
- Teams can be scheduled at other times during the year by contacting the AMA. Due to weather limitations, work trips should be scheduled May to October.
Applications will be taken until all needs are filled. Applications will be considered in the order they are received on a first-come-first-served basis.
Group Size: Maximum of 60 persons per team. If team is larger, call to discuss
Minimum Age: 16 years with permission of parent(s) or guardians.
Adult to Youth Ratio: Youth must be supervised by adult team members at all times. A ratio of at least one adult for each five youth is recommended with a minimum of two adults for each team. If boys and girls are on the same team, there should be an adult of both sexes serving as supervisors.
Accommodations: The teams stay in our local Community Center which has separate bunk rooms and bathrooms for males and females. The Community Center also has a kitchen and dining facility. The AMA prepares an evening hot meal each day of the team's stay. Cold breakfast and lunch foods are provided for self-service use by the teams. Teams usually pack their lunch and take it with to the worksite.
Costs: $275 per person for the week; includes room, 3 meals per day, and materials for use at the work site.
The Appalachia Service Project repairs homes for the poorest families in central Appalachia with the vision that substandard housing in central Appalachia might be eradicated and everyone who comes into contact with this ministry will be transformed.
Projects/Focus: ASP is a relational ministry that repairs homes for low-income families throughout central Appalachia (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina). The goal is to make homes ‘warmer, safer and drier.’
Locations: Opportunities are available in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. All locations are scheduled by ASP National Offices via above information.
Appalachian South Folklife Center (Pipestem)
The Appalachian South Folklife Center (ASFC) is a progressive, nonprofit education organization dedicated to a mountain heritage of freedom and self-reliance; a peaceful place where people of all ages, races, faiths and origins can share community work and creativity.
Project/Focus: Work is mainly focused on home rehabilitations for people in need but also includes other community development work such as stream clean-up, helping other non-profits in the community and working around the center.
Educational/Advocacy Components: Center staff will provide work in community and at Folklife Center, develop field trips, and evening cultural programming. Sessions on Appalachian culture are provided.
Time: Registration is ongoing, but fewer opportunities are available in the winter months.
Group Size: 10–50 people
Minimum Age: 13 years
Adult to Youth Ratio: 1:5
Accommodations: Dorm-style lodging in Folklife Center buildings. Fully stocked kitchen provided (groups must bring and cook their own food). Group must also provide bedding or sleeping bags. Chapel on-site. Ample recreational opportunities available.
Recreational vehicles hook-ups also available.
Cost: $195 per person per week includes lodging, work site supervision, and education programs.
Bethlehem Farm (Pence Springs)
Contact:Eric Fitts, Director
Lauren Schoendorf, Hiring Coordinator
Kim Bremer, Volunteer Coordinator
P.O. Box 415
Talcott, WV 24981
Web site: www.bethlehemfarm.net
Bethlehem Farm: is a Catholic community in Appalachia that strives to transform lives through serving the local community and teaching sustainability. Volunteers join us in living out the Gospel cornerstones of prayer, community, simplicity and service.
Project/Focus: During a week at Bethlehem Farm you can expect to work hard. You can expect to wake up early and go to bed exhausted every night. You can expect to be challenged and supported physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You can expect to have a voice which others will listen to and respect. You can expect to pray in both traditional and creative ways. You can expect to meet nature face to face, to become friends with donkeys and pigs. You can expect to prepare meals from scratch and spend time in the garden. You can expect to feel uncomfortable at times and at home with complete strangers. You can expect to see God, your friends, and the world in which you live from an entirely new perspective.
Educational/Advocacy Components: Staff provides most of the programming for the group weeks including orientation, introduction to Catholic Social Teaching, teachings on eating and living sustainability, as well as leading large groups prayers on topics such as Community, Prayer, Service, Simplicity, Care for Creation, Sacrifice, & seeing God in All Things. There is passive programming throughout the Farm on the history of Appalachia, the affect of mountaintop removal mining and fair trade, and local foods. Participants will also lead a large group prayer experience with their work group and participate in several reflection activities.
Time: Week-long service retreats available (see calendar on website for dates). Priority registration is August 15th for March and May college weeks, September 30th for spring and summer high school weeks, Feb. 1st for Adult week, Family week and October college weeks, but some spots may be available past these dates. Social justice retreat offered over President's Day weekend.
Group Size: Negotiable (average 6-12)
Minimum Age: 16 years
Adult to Youth Ratio: 1:5 Must have one chaperon of each gender participant you bring.
Accommodations: Bunk rooms in large, shared farmhouse with indoor bathrooms as well as outdoor showers and compositing toilets. Meals are provided with homemade, local, organic food. Vegetarians welcome.
Cost: $325 per participant.