As part of the Michigan Active Citizen-Alternative Spring Break program through the
Ginsberg Center here at the University of Michigan, we traveled to Harlan County in Kentucky to volunteer with Cranks Creek Survival Center, a local nonprofit. Cranks Creek has worked in the area for decades, providing housework services, food, and household supplies to residents in need. The founder, Becky Simpson, has passed away, but her husband, Bobby Simpson, has continued her work. The organization hosts many student groups in the spring and summer to help work on maintenance and deliver supplies. In our time with Cranks Creek, we worked on rebuilding the house of a family in the area. We quickly learned the ins and outs of measuring tapes, drills, and hammers, and were left to work on the house while other volunteers with the organization delivered supplies and ran day-to-day operations. Over the course of the week, we observed tangible progress on our work and grew close with the family we were working with. A number of us talked to residents about issues such as the status of coal mining, politics, climate change, and other things. These experiences opened our eyes to new viewpoints on the world and we are incredibly grateful for the experience. We would like to express our gratitude to the Barger Leadership Institute for their support of our trip. We look forward to continue working with the Ginsberg Center and BLI in the near future!
By Finntan Storer