“I learned that service in its truest sense is not about only volunteering—but about devoting your life and all your work to Christ and putting all of your heart into all you do each day. This is a completely priceless experience and there are indescribable things to learn from it.”
Long-term Christian Appalachian Project Volunteers make a commitment of one year, with an option to apply for an additional year. Though we have volunteers of all ages, most of our long-term volunteers are either recent college graduates engaged in post-graduate volunteering, or retirees who want to continue to make a difference in their “encore careers.” Because of the greater time commitment they are making, long-term volunteers are able to take on mission-critical service positions that require someone willing to give the time and energy needed to address Appalachia’s most persistent challenges. CAP typically has two admissions cycles for long-term volunteers, though exceptions are made when one of our programs has an urgent need. Please see our admissions timeline for important dates.
Pillars of CAP Volunteer Life
At Commissioning, long-term volunteers are invited to sign a covenant representing their commitment to our core values of Service, Community, and Spirituality.
CAP Volunteers serve in a variety of programs that emphasize self-help, compassion, and uplifting young people.
Whether a volunteer lives in one of CAP’s volunteer communities or independently, each volunteer makes a commitment to community life by sharing in the joys, challenges, and growth that comes with being a long-term CAP Volunteer.
CAP is an interdenominational organization that encourages people to share their faith and express it through their actions. Personal spiritual growth can be an integral part of the CAP Volunteer experience. To foster a spiritual environment, volunteers gather for prayer and reflection after weekday dinners.
Benefits of Long-term Volunteering
Long-term volunteers receive a multitude of benefits from their service time, including
- Immersion into the communities they are serving
- Intentional Christian community
- Lasting friendships
- Professional development
- Two retreats per year, one of which focuses on vocation (i.e. “Life after CAP”)
Even though volunteers receive many intangible benefits, it is important to note that making a long-term commitment can be a significant financial sacrifice. CAP offers the following benefits to long-term volunteers to help make volunteering possible:
- Room and board
- Modest stipend
- Basic health insurance or premium reimbursement
- Limited travel reimbursement
- Vacation days
- Potential student loan deferment of federal loans
- Potential AmeriCorps Education Award (when funding is available) to repay eligible student loans and/or pay tuition expenses
CAP and the Volunteer Program provide training at the beginning of your service and throughout the year to help you have a successful and safe experience:
- Orientation: You will attend Orientation within a month of your arrival. Beginning Sunday afternoon and running through Thursday, Orientation introduces volunteers to CAP and Appalachian history and culture, includes workshops on community and leading devotions, reiterates volunteer guidelines and expectations, and gives new volunteers the opportunity to get to know each other and prayerfully embark on their year of service as an orientation community before returning to their respective volunteer communities. Orientation ends with a Commissioning Service and is followed by a mini-retreat with all long-term and short-term volunteers.
- Driver training and road test (for volunteers 21 and older in applicable positions).
- CPR, First Aid, and Bloodborne Pathogens.
- Various safety training and webinars offered throughout the year (back safety, fall prevention, chainsaw training, etc.).
- Professional development workshops (resume writing, interviewing).
- Jobsite safety training for all Housing and Elderly Housing volunteers.
- Other training specific to your service position is provided within the individual programs.
To become a long-term CAP Volunteer, you must meet the following requirements:
- Minimum age of 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent.
- For positions that require volunteers to drive a CAP vehicle, applicants must be 21 or older with a good driving record. There are a limited number of positions available for non-drivers.
- Complete a volunteer application, including a complete driving records check, three personal references, and a national background check.
- Be personally interviewed by CAP Volunteer Program staff and at least two service program managers.
- Pass a drug screening upon arrival at CAP.
We are looking for volunteers who are dependable, flexible, mature, self-starting, fast learners, compassionate toward the poor and marginalized, open to diverse faith expressions, able to live in community, have a sense of humor, and have a desire to serve others. For many programs, we can teach the particular skills needed to succeed in your service position; what we can’t teach is a compassionate heart and a passion for our mission.
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about long-term volunteering.