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Mountain Outreach Students Learn a New Skill


Alfred Bunch and his son Nick Bunch were among the volunteers laying tile in the Mountain Outreach home.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach program has taken a new approach with its latest project, one of three new homes being built by Mountain Outreach volunteers this summer.

On July 6, Alfred Bunch and his team of Mountain Outreach volunteers began a challenging, weeklong project as they laid ceramic tile throughout the home. Alfred Bunch, a local volunteer who has experience in laying tile, taught the young people to prepare, sand, lay, and dress the tile. They installed tile on the floors just inside both entrances to the home, as well as in the bathroom. Laminate flooring was laid elsewhere throughout the home.


(Left to Right) Matt Henson, Alfred Bunch, Nick Bunch, and Jonathan Bowman work within the Mountain Outreach home. Not pictured are Stephanie Watts, Amy Roberts, and Kendra Sammons who also shared in the experience.

Marc Hensley, director of Mountain Outreach commented about Alfred Bunch, who volunteered to help instruct the builders in laying tile, “He is one of the best tile men I know. This is our first year in laying tile, so it is a new experience for us. Our volunteers receive hands-on experience through the program, and now they can learn how to lay tile from an expert.”

Alfred Bunch said, “[Mountain Outreach] allows us to give and to help others who are in need. It is an opportunity for us to serve the Lord,” Bunch’s son, Nick, is a first-year student worker with Mountain Outreach. Standing with his dad through the project, Nick worked with several others as they learned to work with tile under the elder Bunch’s instruction.

Mountain Outreach volunteers describe their new experience as a time for growth and an opportunity to serve and apply practical skills. Jonathan Bowman, a volunteer with Mountain Outreach said, “All of us have come a long way with these skills. We have come closer together in God. You basically see God work through us, and that strengthens our relationship with him.”

Mountain Outreach is a service organization of University of the Cumberlands. Beginning in the 1980s, this program grew from a grass-roots effort by students who wanted to improve housing for some area families. Volunteer groups from several states come to help each summer, but students in the program work all year, making home repairs, building wheel-chair ramps and performing many other jobs for individuals and families who, for physical or financial reasons, might not be able to do the work themselves. The mission of Mountain Outreach is not to provide a hand out but a hand up. The deserving, hard-working families who receive homes through the program help with the work of construction and pay for their homes through an interest-free mortgage with payments tailored to their incomes.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study; 30 minors; nine pre-professional programs; graduate degrees, including a doctorate and certifications in education, an MBA, a degree in physician assistant studies; and online programs.