Jesse Lee ASP Info Meeting – Jan 24 @ 7:30

High-school teens and adults are invited to attend an information session on Wednesday, January 24th. Leaders and previous volunteers will share details about the preparation and home-repair week planned for this summer with the Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project (ASP). This year’s trip is scheduled for June 29th-July 7th.

This no-obligation meeting will introduce students and their parents – and any other interested adults – to the Appalachia Service Project overall and the developing plan for Jesse Lee ASP’s 40th year.

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

ASP is a national Christian volunteer organization founded by Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans, a Methodist minister, in 1969. Since then, more than 420,000 volunteers from across the nation have participated in weeklong mission trips to make more than 18,500 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 this summer. Adults are encouraged to volunteer – both those who have teens participating and those who do not. 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.

You don’t have to pre-register for the January 24th information session.

Previous ASP volunteers need not attend the information meeting. However, they should plan to attend one of the two required “first orientation” meetings on either Wednesday, Feb. 7th or Tuesday, Feb. 13th.

For more details, feel free to browse through this website or call Deb Ahle (203-438-6782).

Henry Idone Wins 2023 John Ward Award

Jesse Lee ASP is excited to announce that the winner of the 2023 John Ward “Love in Action” Scholarship Award is Henry Idone.

Henry is a recent graduate of Ridgefield High School and a 3-year participant of Appalachia Service Project.

Henry is involved in sports, playing hockey and tennis.  At RHS he played cello in the symphonic orchestra.  He also was part of the Future Business Leaders of America, the Math Team, the Investment Club and Music Mentors. 

In memory of his grandfather, Henry co-founded the Ridgefield Community Cello Ensemble to bring student cellists (from 7th to 12 grade) together to perform at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

This fall Henry will be attending Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts where he plans to study data science and business.   We are very pleased to present him 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:

  • 2023 – Henry Idone
  • 2022 – Parker Etzbach
  • 2021 – Kate Fleming
  • 2020 – Matt Carpenter
  • 2019 – Miles Tullo
  • 2018 – Gillian Retter
  • 2017 – Petros Papadopolous

174 JLASP Volunteers Repair Homes in Virginia

High-school students and adults from the Ridgefield area are on their annual Appalachia Service Project mission trip this week, with 174 volunteers working to make homes “warmer, safer and drier” in two counties in Virginia.

Based out of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Jesse Lee ASP is in its 39th year and is one of the largest local ASP groups in the country.

The 174 traveling volunteers departed early Saturday morning after a commissioning ceremony at Jesse Lee with family and friends. They split up, working this week in Wise and Dickenson counties in western Virginia. Crews of two adults and four students team up to repair, build or replace roofs, foundations, mobile-home underpinning and wheelchair ramps, while also developing relationships with the homes’ residents. They’re eating and sleeping in “centers” organized and operated in schools and churches by the national ASP organization.

Saturday’s departure celebration included recognition of 10 Ridgefield teens who have participated in ASP during all four years of high school. They are: Max Barlow, Sophie Browning, Maya Chauhan, Ryder Dadasovich, Caroline DelGiudice, Alex Doman, Kenny Muller, Matt Neligan, Henry Osher and Alex Prokopczyk.

Additionally, another recent RHS graduate, Hank Idone, was named the recipient of the John Ward Love in Action Award, a $1,000 scholarship established in 2017 that honors John Ward, who is in his 35th year of participating in Jesse Lee ASP. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who has been on ASP at least once and who has committed to ongoing community service in other arenas besides ASP.

The ASP volunteers will return to Ridgefield in a long honking caravan on Sun., July 9 around 5 p.m. for a welcoming reception at Jesse Lee. For an updated time of return, watch the website on Sunday afternoon.

Funds to support Jesse Lee ASP’s work were raised through car washes held at Jesse Lee on Saturdays this spring, from “stock” sold by participants, and through gifts from the Jesse Lee congregation.

Jesse Lee ASP will celebrate its 2023 work in two ways: with an ice cream social at the church on Sat., July 15 at 6:30 p.m. featuring a slide show of all the crews’ experiences; and a special Sunday-morning service at Jesse Lee on July 16 at 9:30 a.m. All are invited to both.

In addition to the volunteers working this week in Virginia, two Ridgefield women are working in Appalachia all summer as paid ASP staff members. Claire Dollins is program manager at ASP’s main center in Jonesville, VA, while Bella Lussi is finance coordinator in Breathitt County, KY. Their tasks include helping to evaluate applications from homeowners, stocking the “center” with tools and supplies, planning and overseeing home repairs, hosting and assisting the weekly teams of volunteers, and much more.

Appalachia Service Project is a national Christian volunteer organization whose participants make an annual weeklong mission trip where they work to make local folks’ homes “warmer, safer and drier.” Since its founding in 1969, more than 420,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired 18,500 homes in central Appalachia.

Jesse Lee ASP is open to anyone who has completed their freshman year of high school.

For more information about the local Appalachia Service Project, call Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church at (203) 438-8791 or go to