Service Groups

Xavier University 2008

We host service groups of up to 10 participants year round.  Participants must be 18 years or older. Spring Break is our busiest time of year with college students coming from all over the country.
(Jr & Sr high school groups CLICK HERE)

ACW’s unique service program includes much more than just the swinging of hammers.  It is experiencing Catholic social teaching first hand.  Our time will be divided evenly in three ways:

1/3 service projects
1/3 education on Appalachian culture and social and environmental justice issues
1/3 discussion and reflection


A group leader once described our program like this: It’s not a mission trip;  it’s more like an educational retreat with some service projects.” That’s because what Appalachians seem to appreciate even more than our help is when we take the time to get to know them.  From their perspective, the greatest service we can give is simply to respect their Dignity and join in Solidarity with them.  This entails learning, not only about the region’s poverty and struggles, but also its wealth and beauty, through the people, who know it and express it best. So, during your time with us, we’ll introduce you to hard work, simple living, coal country and the community; and, we’ll do so by way of discussions, field trips, and yes, some service projects!  When you immerse yourself in Appalachia in these ways and combine social analysis, critical thinking and reflection, you’re bound to learn a little about your own struggles and beauty, too. Subsequently, you gain more of a retreat-like experience and hopefully want to continue making a difference for Appalachia back home.  We invite you to step out of your comfort zones and break down stereotypes, and we’ll work with you to build relationships among the local people as well as within your group.

For more information, click on the links below.

For Trip Coordinators:

For Participants:

VIDEOS made by groups who have been here:

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John Carroll University, 2016

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