BEARDS FORK — The Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS) and ReBuilding Together plan to bring up to 400 teenagers and adults to the Upper Kanawha Valley this summer to improve the homes of elderly, disabled, and low-income residents. SALS is now taking applications from residents who want help with minor home repairs.

As many as 65-70 residents of the area from Chesapeake to Gauley Bridge will benefit from the work which will occur on from June 30 to July 6. The workcamp will provide free home repairs through Group Mission Trips.

Group Mission Trips is a non-profit, interdenominational Christian volunteer home-repair organization headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. This summer, almost 15,000 young people and adults will participate in 35 workcamps in communities across the United States. For SALS, this will be the 38th workcamp with Group Mission Trips over the past several decades. SALS Project Coordinator Lisa Manley said the effort has made a major difference for families in the area to live in better conditions.

At each workcamp, teenagers and adults — members of church youth groups — volunteer a week of their time to repair homes throughout the community.

“These really are remarkable young people,” Jeff Thompson of Group Mission Trips said in a press release. “Each one is actually paying for the privilege of working in your community. Workcamp registration fees are used to cover our costs for food, insurance, and building materials.”

The workcamp participants will be housed at East Bank Middle School, with the campers sleeping on classroom floors, eating in the cafeteria, and enjoying evening programs in the gym.

“This service to the community would be impossible without the wonderful cooperation of the Kanawha County School system,” SALS Director John David said. Group Mission Trips will reimburse all costs to the lodging facility.

“With humble beginnings going back to 1990, Group Mission Trips has been partnering with and helping communities across the United States and the world. As the non-profit mission ministry of Group Cares, Group Mission Trips works hard to bring meaningful service to the communities we serve. Since the beginning, thousands upon thousands of mission trip participants have racked up millions of volunteer hours serving people in need,” the press release stated.

This summer’s 35 workcamps will take place in different states, including but not limited to Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia. Group Mission Trips has hosted over 480,000 participants who have provided more than 14 million hours of volunteer service directly to people in need.

Repairs offered through the workcamp include interior and exterior painting, weatherization, porch and wheelchair ramp construction, and other work.

Residents interested in applying to receive assistance may contact SALS at 304-250-7627 or email

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