SWAP is Sharing With Appalachian People
Using the efforts of volunteers, SWAP addresses sub-standard housing in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Participants will work with and for local clients "In the name of Christ", sharing the message of God's love and building relationships that serve to enrich all involved.
What is SWAP?
SWAP is a service and learning program of MCC/Great Lakes. It is a home repair ministry that serves low-income families in several counties of southeastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Typically, SWAP provides week-long service opportunities to school, college, youth and other church/other groups, ages 15 and up, as well as individuals and families (for younger participants, call our office for details). Shorter and longer term experiences are available on request during “non-summer” months, and are great options for retirees. A SWAP experience includes spending time in the mountains of Appalachia, ministering to and building relationships with local folks in need while reflecting on and sharing your experiences as you serve “In the name of Christ." Each year, SWAP registers approximately 1,000 participants who serve for one-week terms repairing homes and learning to know people in Harlan, Knott, McDowell and Letcher Counties.
What will you do?
Before coming to SWAP, your group will gather to study, pray, and prepare for your service experience. SWAP Orientation Materials help guide group activities that focus on working in another culture, and seeing service as relationship building and an opportunity for mutual learning. While at SWAP, your group will participate in work ranging from painting and repairing porches to replacing leaky roofs, adding rooms and doing basic renovations. Ministry participants should be prepared to get hot and dirty while keeping a smile on their faces! Your group will meet several evenings during the week to worship and reflect on what you are experiencing. You will be challenged to compare your lifestyles with those whom you serve, and consider Christ-like responses to issues of poverty and powerlessness. Participants will be challenged to consider faith and ministry as being inseparable, recognizing that one week per year of “ministry or service“ does not fulfill Christ’s commission to us.
What will SWAP do?
SWAP provides food and lodging once participants are on site. SWAP pre-selects all clients and work projects, providing building materials to complete the project. In most cases, SWAP will provide the necessary tools for volunteer jobs. SWAP staff will facilitate evening worship and study sessions, and seek to engage participant input as much as possible. Evening sessions may include presenters from the local community, a locally-hosted dinner, or a local cultural/music event.
What will it cost?
A week-long SWAP experience costs $335.00 U.S. per person. This amount is divided between our program administration (food, lodging and staff) and materials for clients who cannot afford the costs of their home repairs.