Appalachia retreat continues service legacy

Since 1981, McNicholas has been traveling to the Appalachian region to serve its residents in multiple ways. The trip gives students an opportunity to grow in their faith, branch out in their experiences in places that a very new to them, and help serve others.

Glenmary Farms is an organization which goes to communities with little to no Catholic presence or influence and try to teach and build a Catholic community wherever they are. In Appalachia, these mangers working with Glenmary are stationed on Joppa Mountain in Tennessee.

The fall mission trip, which ran from Sept. 13-18, included Alessia Accordino, Jaclyn Geygan, Lauren Alvarez, Abby Hay, Lauren Alvey, Carey Heekin, Vanessa Bayliss, Lydia Holdread, Liz Beck, Hailey Lau, Gracie Blades, Felicia Marino, Emma Brandt, Erin McHugh, Katey Byrne, Katie McHugh, Abby Conard, Kelsey Minnick, Carly Cullion, Jona Ridgway, Kelly Easley, Hannah Straub, Anna Enders, and Emily Vieth, and faculty members Anne Jones, Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, Teresa Davis, and Andy Ey.

Once they arrived at Joppa Mountain, the group met many people they would be helping that week.  They first visited a retirement home where many of the residents “just needed someone to talk to,” Jones said.

Along with the retirement home, the groups worked with other Joppa Mountain residents one on one. The worked mostly on housing projects, such as helping a man named Lawrence build a roof and floor for his home. They also helped a man named Jeffery move into a new house because his current at the time was in need of many repairs. Through doing these projects, they “saw incredibly appreciative people who enjoyed having great company,” Alvarez said.

Glenmary Farms and McNicholas plan to continue this tradition of helping the people of Appalachia grow in faith as well as receive the help and support they deserve.

“It was really great to feel like you’re actually helping people,” Alvarez said.

In September, an all-female student group traveled to Joppa Mountain, Tennessee for the annual Appalachia Retreat. The community is mostly Baptist, but the group talked to residents about the Catholic faith and brought a man named Jonathan to his first Catholic mass.
The Appalachian retreatants from the fall trip to Joppa Mountain, Tennessee, help build a roof for a resident. They installed shingles that would then provide a foundation for tin roof to later be installed over it.

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