When I reflect on this year, I am amazed with how quickly time has gone, and simultaneously how stagnant many moments have been. This past April was a moment in which time seemed to stand still amidst confusion, fear and grief when ASP made the tough decision to cancel summer volunteer hosting. As a previous summer staffer, volunteer, and incoming fellow, the immediate aches I felt were for the families whose homes that would not receive repair and the communities that would not be visited by staff and volunteers.
I will always remember the uncharted emotions that accompanied those months, but as I listen to some of my favorite leaders reflect on this year, I notice a common thread of adaptation to the unique challenges this year presented. As time seemed to stand still, many of our first reactions were to wait until all was back to “normal” to resume. What amazes me are those who did not see waiting as an option and chose to adapt. They appreciate and realize the value of time.
ASP did just that. With intentional leadership, ASP was able to continue home repair and replacement this summer in Kanawha County WV, Tri-Cities TN/VA, Hancock County VA, Lee County VA and Harlan County KY. Work in these areas continued throughout the fall, in addition to Unicoi County TN where we completed 6 weeks of volunteer hosting, and will continue serving these locations through the winter.
Time is a privilege that we can take for granted, and this year has certainly opened my eyes to its value. Due to ASP’s recognition of the significance time holds for those we serve, many families will be experiencing a warmer, safer and drier year.
I have previously only served with ASP in the summer, so the “warmer” aspect of ASP’s mission can go unnoticed during those hot summer days. But this year, as I watched the seasons change in Appalachia, I was able to hear and feel the significance these projects have on our homeowners. This fall I witnessed the completion of two hug systems [whole house insulation/weatherization projects] and multiple other weatherization projects, leaving me with a new sense of gratitude for these warmer homes.
I am amazed by the work ASP has been able to accomplish despite the challenges of the year, and even more grateful for the support from everyone in the ASP family. I am looking forward to 2021 as we undertake a new year with the perspectives granted to us from this past year.
Wishing everyone a year of health, intention, and hope.
2018 & 2019 Summer Staff, 2020-2021 ASP Fellow (Jonesville)