Ivanhoe is a small town of about 600 aging residents in the economically depressed Appalachian region of southwest Virginia. Ivanhoe, once a prosperous manufacturing town, has very high unemployment and has never quite been the same since a Union Carbide plant left the town and took many jobs with it. By the 1980s the last of the mineral companies closed and the local economy was decimated. Through the work of the Ivanhoe Civic League, an organization that facilitates community rebuilding projects, the residents of Ivanhoe refuse to allow their town to die.
Prep students in Ivanhoe were men for and with others, working for the benefit of the rural community but also hearing and listening to their decidedly different ways of life. Work included cleaning, home repair, and yard work. Students engaged with locals and each other and learned from each other.
Nick Bruno ‘24 said “Over the course of the trip I discovered how a true community comes together to help one another and continue relationships. I never realized how much our assistance meant to the people of Ivanhoe, and the extent to which we impacted the community was extraordinary. This was an experience I will certainly never forget.”