Mount St. Joseph University joins Christian Appalachian Project for annual WorkFest
By Brianna Stephens on April 11, 2023
APPALACHIA – (March 20, 2023) Students from Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently spent their spring break in Eastern Kentucky, making homes safe, warm, and dry for children, their families, and seniors in the region. Mount St. Joseph students joined other college students from across the country who are participating in Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) annual WorkFest, an alternative spring break program that addresses substandard housing in Appalachia.
Mount St. Joseph has a long-standing tradition of attending WorkFest. The university has been represented at every WorkFest since the first event was hosted in 1992. John Trokan, a faculty member, attended the first WorkFest and has returned for nearly every event since with his students.
“What stands out to me is the generosity and hospitality of the families and our students’ abilities to give of themselves and to see the value in serving others, but also the reciprocal nature of that,” Trokan said. “We get to see how much these families have to teach us about their own values, their faith, and what’s really important in life. It’s so easy for us to get so distracted by all the clutter in our world. This brings you to what’s really essential in life.”
This year Ashley Cook, a junior at Mount St. Joseph, attended WorkFest for the first time. On a worksite in Jackson County, her team met a widow living alone in her home of 45 years and facing health challenges. During the week of service, the team repaired drywall and sheetrock, installed new flooring and a back door, and built a new back deck and stairs. The woman was grateful for the students’ work and fellowship during their service.
“She is amazing,” Cook said of getting to know the woman. “I just want her to know that people are here, they care, they love her, she’s a human too, and that we want to make a difference in her life. Even just something so small could make an impact for her future.”
Students who serve as a part of WorkFest help live out CAP’s mission of building hope, transforming lives, and sharing Christ’s love through service in Appalachia. Because of volunteers during WorkFest and throughout the year, CAP is able to serve more children, their families, and seniors in need.
“These kids have a desire to serve and that's what really shines a light to me,” said Tyler Longsworth, a CAP Home Repair crew leader. “My hat’s off to them for sacrificing that time to come help people they've never met or know anything about. It helps us get a lot of work done a lot faster.”
For more information about WorkFest and other service opportunities at CAP, visit christianapp.org.