We are winding down our first year of school-based intervention programming of the Appalachian Scholars’ Program and are working diligently with our students to complete their 20-hour community service learning project. This past week 42 students from the freshman class at Knott County Central High School took part in a spring cleanup of downtown Hindman. One group of students walked along the banks of Troublesome Creek from HCTC’s Kentucky School of Craft to downtown picking up trash along the way. Another group, led by SWAP Coordinator Lou Erb, took to the hills on the Settlement’s Martha Burns Nature Trails in order to remove debris and leaves. A third group made the short walk down to cleanup one of Hindman’s historic buildings, the Hindman United Methodist Church, built in 1951 and currently used by the Hindman First Baptist Church’s youth ministry. The fourth and final group helped sort seeds with our Grow Appalachia Site Coordinator Ashton Huxtable.
After lunch the students had the opportunity to speak with Bryan Swafford of Hazard Community & Technical College as he discussed programs and workshops that the college offers. They also were able to tour the Kentucky School of Craft during their “Handmade in Hindman” event where participants were crafting various works of art from blacksmithing, woodworking, basket weaving, and iron casting. Master Woodworker Terry Ratliff gave the students a demonstration of carving out a walking stick straight from the tree.
As the semester continues to wind down we will have more service projects taking place. This week several students will be participating in a service project at the Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter and other classes are organizing a video game tournament from which the proceeds will go toward funding needed items for homeless students in the area.
Thank you to all who helped with this project! I am looking forward to working more with our students as they learn by making an impact on their communities through service.