For nearly 20 years now I’ve been spending a week of my summer traveling to Appalachia to help repair homes in desperate need and to open the eyes of Cohasset teens. The condition of the homes we work on, and the poverty of the people who live in them, is difficult to describe. The most humble home in Cohasset is a veritable mansion in comparison. One year the home I was working on had leaks in the living room so big that during a thunderstorm 12 quart pans had to be emptied every couple of minutes. Despite their poverty, the families we work for are warm and kind, probably more so than many of us would be in such circumstances. They are, of course, living in the homes as we’re working on them, so we get to know them. For our youth, this family interaction is an integral part of the service they’re doing and the lessons they’ll learn on the trip. Cohasset ASP needs a lot of money to operate. While we travel frugally, sleeping on church and school floors and eating in a school cafeteria, we also make a substantial financial contribution for the materials required by our repair projects. One way we cover these expenses is by selling “stock.” It’s not on any of the exchanges and it won’t increase your retirement portfolio, but the returns are great. First, there’s the repair work that we do; your purchase will help make vulnerable lives safer and more secure. That would be enough, but there’s another benefit, intangible but great; the privileged eyes of Cohasset’s youth not only witness great financial poverty, but get to do something to alleviate it and, perhaps more important, become acquainted with the people affected. It’s eye-opening for all, life-altering for some. If you want to learn more about our work, check out our local website (www.cohassetasp.org) and that of the national organization that organizes our lodging and the home repair projects on which we’ll work (http://asphome.org/about).