Boston College's Appalachia Volunteers Program (Appa) is expanding its mission of service and solidarity across the United States by organizing a new service trip to Los Angeles over spring break.
The Los Angeles trip will be a partnership with Homeboy Industries, an organization founded by Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J. that works to alleviate the community's struggle with poverty and its effects on education, crime, and health. Students will be staying at the St. Francis Center in Downtown Los Angeles where they will cook, serve, and share meals with people who are homeless.
Appa's Transportation Committee, comprised of Erin Desroacher, MCAS ‘18, Scott Hamm, CSOM ‘19, and Alex Nunan, LSOE ‘17, has been communicating with community organizations to organize lodging, food, and volunteer opportunities for all the trips—from the Appalachian region to Los Angeles.
Appa began in February of 1979 with 20 students traveling to serve the community of Vanceburg, Kentucky. Appa has since grown to include over 500 students traveling to service locations across the eastern seaboard every year. Most recently, the program has expanded its focus to urban centers like Detroit and New Orleans.
“We feel that we need to go and serve where we are needed, which includes expanding our program to include new sites outside of the Appalachian region. We recognize that our mission calls us to focus on domestic poverty across the United States,” said the Transportation Committee. “We have an opportunity—an obligation, even—to widen our circle of service-immersion such that it includes a diverse cross-section of the United States.”
“These opportunities of service and solidarity are important,” continued the Transportation Committee. “We value the relationships that we build with community members. In such ways, we, too, are served during the week by the women, men, and families hosting us.”
The Appalachia Volunteers Program is still accepting new members until Oct. 26. For students interested in getting involved, information about registration may be found on the Appa page of the campus ministry site. Weekly meetings take place on Sundays at 6 p.m. in Eagles Nest.