Informational Meeting for New Volunteers

High-school teens and adults can attend an information session on Wed., Jan. 26 offering details about a meaningful week of volunteer home-repair this summer through Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project (ASP).

This no-obligation meeting will introduce students and their parents – and any other interested adults – to the Appalachia Service Project overall, and especially to the developing plan for the local ASP group’s week of work June 25-July 3. As planned, volunteers can choose between traveling to repair homes in Appalachia or working on local Fairfield County houses.

The one-hour information session will start at 7:30 p.m. at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 207 Main St. Meet in the sanctuary.

ASP is a national Christian volunteer organization founded by Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans, a Methodist minister, in 1969. Since then, more than 410,000 volunteers from across the nation have participated in weeklong mission trips to make more than 18,000 homes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina “warmer, safer and drier.”

Jesse Lee ASP is open to anyone who will have completed their freshman year of high school. Adults are encouraged to volunteer – both those who have teens participating and those who don’t. You don’t have to be a member of Jesse Lee or any church, you don’t have to live in Ridgefield, and you don’t need to be an expert with a hammer to volunteer. Basic construction skills and safety rules are taught in training sessions prior to going on ASP. There’s also a fund-raising component. And it helps if you like ice cream.

This is the 38th year for Jesse Lee ASP, which recently grew to become the second-largest local ASP organization in the U.S. In 2019 (the most-recent pre-COVID year), 281 teens and adults worked to repair homes in three counties in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Kate Fleming Wins John Ward Award

Jesse Lee ASP is excited to announce that the winner of the 2020 John Ward “Love in Action” Scholarship Award is Kate Fleming.

Kate is a recent graduate of Ridgefield High School and a 4-year participant of Appalachia Service Project. In addition to attending the trip, she has been a valued member of the ASP Orientation Team for the last three years as well as the ASP Music Team. Kate is so committed to ASP that when she wasn’t able to drive down with all the volunteers at the start of the week this past summer, she flew down mid-week to join her crew.

Kate is a member of The National Honor Society. While at Ridgefield High she was involved in the Nightingales A Cappella Group (holding roles as treasurer and soprano 1 section leader), RHS Theatre, RPS Friends Club and on the Varsity Swim and Dive Team. She was also an active member of Ridgefield Young Life.

She works as a sales associate at Sammy + Nat, a children’s clothing boutique and has volunteered at many places through National Charity League including the Women’s Center of Danbury, RVNAhealth, Meals on Wheels, Dorothy Day House and group COVID-19 relief efforts.

This fall Kate will be attending Loyola University in Maryland where she plans to study communications/journalism. We are very pleased to present her with this award.

John Ward

The John Ward Love in Action Award was established by Jesse Lee ASP in 2017 to honor John Ward’s 30th Appalachia Service Project Trip. It is a $1000 grant given each year to a high school senior who has participated in ASP and dedicated themself to other forms of community service.

Winners of the John Ward Award have been:

  • 2021 – Kate Fleming
  • 2020 – Matt Carpenter
  • 2019 – Miles Tullo
  • 2018 – Gillian Retter
  • 2017 – Petros Papadopolous