2018 CHEF Reflections – Spencer Haynes, Mountain T.O.P.

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This post is part of the 2018 CHEF Intern Series.
Spencer Haynes - Mountain T.O.P. CHEF
My name is Spencer Haynes, and I am a rising senior from Birmingham, Alabama at the University of Virginia, where I’m studying Economics. This summer I worked with Fahe Member Mountain T.O.P., a faith-based organization that serves the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. When I’m not studying or working, I can be found reading Flannery O’Connor, writing short stories, playing basketball, or eating peanut M&Ms (the best road trip snack).

Being from Alabama and attending school in Virginia, I have geographical ties to the Appalachian region. Having lived exclusively in those two states, I’m excited to serve a community that has been close to me my whole life.  However, outside of living near the region, I don’t have any direct ties to the community that I’m serving this summer.

I have been inspired by the passion different organizations possess in serving the people of Appalachia. For example, during the initial CHEF tour with Fahe, I had the opportunity to see the impact Fahe has had in different areas in the community, whether it be with rehabilitation through the Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women or making it possible for single parents to further their education on the collegiate level through Eastern Scholar House. Moreover, I have already gotten a glimpse at the work Mountain T.O.P is doing as it partners with families it serves to complete major and minor home repairs.

There is tremendous work being done across Appalachia, in many different ways, and I’m thankful for the new experiences, growth, and lots of smiles.

Fahe's CHEF (Community Housing & Economic Fellowship) Interns participate in a 12-week summer program designed to provide internship opportunities for emerging professionals within the Appalachian region. With support from Rural LISC, Fahe's CHEF Program connects Appalachian students to internships within Fahe's nonprofit Member Network, creating opportunities to develop and retain leaders who will shape our region’s future. Rural LISC

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