Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Marie R. Vanasse, April 9, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:04 - Vanasse's background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I thought we might start out this evening by your telling me a little bit about your personal background first before we get you to CAP and Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse is from Rhode Island. She talks about her upbringing in parochial schools and her jobs, including her career as a nun and teacher. She says she took care of her mother until she passed away and then travelled to Haiti with a consciousness-raising group to raise awareness in America of the situation in Haiti. After that, Vanasse wrote to the Catholic Extension Society, who recommended the Christian Appalachian Project.

Keywords: Caretakers; Catholic Extension Society; Catholic schools; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Consciousness raising; Haiti; Hospitals; Nuns; Parochial schools; Rhode Island; Secretaries; Sisterhoods; Sisters of Mother Teresa; Teachers; Teaching; Volunteerism

Subjects: Boston (Mass.); Christian Appalachian Project; Nonprofit organizations.; Voluntarism.; Volunteer workers in hospitals; Volunteering; Volunteers.

GPS: Rhode Island.
Map Coordinates: 41.7, -71.5
GPS: Haiti.
Map Coordinates: 19, -72.416667
00:05:18 - Arriving in Kentucky / Father Beiting's transition to Martin, Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So when did you arrive in Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse talks about her orientation when she arrived at Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) in Kentucky. She was assigned to the elderly outreach program in Lancaster where she would take people to different doctors' appointments and other places. She lived in Lancaster at the St. Williams Parish. She says the volunteers stopped living there when Father Beiting transitioned to Martin, Kentucky. She also talks about a clause in CAP's constitution.

Keywords: Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Covington (Ky.); Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Herrington Lake (Ky.); Michael McLaughlin; Mike McLaughlin; Nursing homes

Subjects: Beiting, Ralph W.; Christian Appalachian Project; Lancaster (Ky.); Martin (Ky.); Nonprofit organizations.

GPS: Herrington Lake (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.7366, -84.7043
GPS: Lancaster (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.618611, -84.579444
GPS: Covington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 39.083611, -84.508611
GPS: Martin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.567778, -82.759444
00:11:05 - Vanasse's initial impressions of Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What were your impressions--your initial impressions of Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says Lancaster did not look as abject as she and other volunteers anticipated it would look like. She say places like Lancaster, Berea, Somerset, and other cities have a more agricultural setting and less of a coal mining setting. Vanasse also thought the volunteers would have a more austere life, but they had luxuries such as television sets and a fleet of cars. Overall, though, Vanasse felt that she had a good experience in Kentucky.

Keywords: Appalachian life; Berea (Ky.); Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Eastern Kentucky; Jackson County (Ky.); Kentucky culture; Kentucky life; Lancaster (Ky.); Rural life; Somerset (Ky.)

Subjects: Appalachia.; Appalachian Region--Economic conditions.; Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Christian Appalachian Project; Kentucky--Social life and customs; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Rural conditions.

GPS: Lancaster (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.618611, -84.579444
GPS: Berea (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.576944, -84.293611
GPS: Somerset (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.083056, -84.609444
GPS: Jackson County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.42, -84.01
00:18:06 - Christian Appalachian Project's impact on Lancaster's community

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you stay in Lancaster the whole time you were there?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says The Attic has been beneficial because it has served as a way to help people get affordable clothing, as well as to provide them a place to socialize and learn about CAP's programs. She mentions that Father Beiting has told people about the early days of CAP when people in Appalachia were more distrustful of priests and Catholics.

Keywords: Appalachian social life; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Communities.; Community; Community development.; Community involvement; Community life.; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Lancaster (Ky.); The Attic; Volunteer coordinators

Subjects: Appalachia.; Appalachian Region--Economic conditions.; Appalachian Region--Religion.; Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Beiting, Ralph W.; Christian Appalachian Project; Nonprofit organizations.; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Volunteering; Volunteerism; Volunteers.

GPS: Lancaster (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.618611, -84.579444
00:20:05 - Vanasse's role as a volunteer coordinator

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you, um, were coordinating the volunteers, um, did that entail so--er, trying to get volunteers also?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says she recruited and oversaw volunteers. She says she had to recommend volunteers to Father Beiting for him to approve since he used to be the volunteer coordinator. Vanasse mentions an incident with a volunteer who had become convinced that his diabetes had been cured and then entered into a diabetic coma. This made Father Beiting realize the necessity of a more active volunteer coordinator. Since Vanasse had been a volunteer before, it was difficult for people to accept her role transition.

Keywords: Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Diabetic comas; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Mishaps; Recruiting; Recruitment; Role transitions; Volunteer coordinators; Volunteerism

Subjects: Beiting, Ralph W.; Christian Appalachian Project; Diabetic coma; Nonprofit organizations.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers

00:24:32 - Average ages of CAP's volunteers

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, I was, uh--one question I wanted to ask you was what--wh--could you give an average age of the volunteers?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says that most people who volunteer for CAP are younger people, but she mentions some exceptions. She says that although CAP is a volunteer organization, paid employees handle the daily operations.

Keywords: Ages; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Management; Older people; Sister Theresa; Young people

Subjects: Christian Appalachian Project; Nonprofit organizations.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers.

00:26:15 - The challenges of recruiting good volunteers / The importance of volunteer coordinators

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, if you had been there longer--or--over a longer period of time, I wonder if you would have--might have seen a change in the volunteers, say if in the sixties with the War on Poverty efforts if they got a lot more, um, and college students and now if that might be declining?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says Father Beiting has spoken about interesting people coming to volunteer during the sixties and, since then, the screening process has been more strict. Vanasse says she has implemented new policies to recruit good quality volunteers. She talks about the importance of her role as a volunteer coordinator and some of the difficulties she faced in the role.

Keywords: 1960s; Activism; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); College graduates; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Recruiting; Recruitment; Volunteer coordinators; Volunteerism; War on Poverty

Subjects: Beiting, Ralph W.; Christian Appalachian Project; Nonprofit organizations.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers.

00:30:32 - Ways CAP has been successful and ways it can improve

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you've--you als--after you placed the volunteers, you would visit them on a reg--more or less on a regular basis.

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says the child adoption program is CAP's most successful project because it was well planned-out. She talks about programs that CAP has put on that have not been as successful due to not being as planned-out, such as a drug abuse program. She talks about her ideas about how programs can be more successful in the long-term.

Keywords: Child adoption; Child adoption programs; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Drug abuse programs; Family Life Center; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Mount Vernon (Ky.); Planning; Volunteerism

Subjects: Adoption.; Beiting, Ralph W.; Christian Appalachian Project; Community development.; Community involvement; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Nonprofit organizations.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers.

GPS: Mount Vernon (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.366944, -84.3375
00:33:45 - Collaboration with state agencies / Reaction to CAP from local people

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What about working with the state agencies?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse says that state agencies typically have not collaborated with CAP. However, she mentions a former volunteer named Rick O'Connell who works for the state of Kentucky and has advocated for CAP. Vanasse talks about the community's differing views of CAP, with some groups such as the elderly and the child development center having positive views of CAP and others being more distrustful. Her main contact with other agencies was with Social Security and the welfare departments, including coordinating transportation for elderly people for their appointments. She also mentions the police referring people to CAP for help and talks about the reaction to Father Beiting's attempt to establish the Mountain Christian Academy in Martin, Kentucky.

Keywords: Bible schools; Catholic schools; Child Development Center; Child development centers; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Christian schools; Elderly people; Elderly persons; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Government agencies; Martin (Ky.); Mountain Christian Academy; National agencies; Rick O'Connell; Social Security; Social Security Administration; State agencies

Subjects: Catholic schools.; Child development.; Christian Appalachian Project; Community development.; Community involvement; Community-based family services.; Community-based social services.; Education--Kentucky; Government agencies; Nonprofit organizations.; Social security.

GPS: Martin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.567778, -82.759444
00:41:48 - CAP's board of trustees / CAP's spread into Martin, Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Ho, uh--who makes up the board of trustees? Is the fi--uh, people who work there, the upper--

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse cannot remember specific board of trustees members. However, she talks about Father Beiting's ambition to spread CAP's operations into Martin, Kentucky. She also discusses volunteers' desire to go to Martin to experience a less corporate lifestyle.

Keywords: Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Corporate; Corporate lifestyle; Father Beiting; Father Ralph W. Beiting; Lancaster (Ky.); Volunteerism

Subjects: Beiting, Ralph W.; Christian Appalachian Project; Communities.; Community; Community life.; Martin (Ky.); Nonprofit organizations.; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers.

GPS: Lancaster (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.618611, -84.579444
GPS: Martin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.567778, -82.759444
00:45:03 - Vanasse's decision to leave CAP / How Vanasse's views of Kentucky changed

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you decided to leave, or you began thinking about leaving, was it because of your decisions for your new career and--

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse discusses her decision to leave CAP, factors of which included her view that she could no longer do what she wished in CAP and her desire to return to her family. She also talks about liking Kentucky's rural life and the good system of roads into the mountains.

Keywords: Bank tellers; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Road systems; Rural life; Rural living; Simple lives; Simple living; Slow living; Transportation

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Christian Appalachian Project; Communities.; Community; Community life.; Kentucky--Social life and customs; Mountain roads; Nonprofit organizations.; Regionalism--Appalachian Region; Rural conditions.

00:47:58 - Final thoughts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Can you think of anything else that you'd like to share from your time there, your experiences?

Segment Synopsis: Vanasse discusses the importance of CAP in terms of giving young people the opportunity to experience a more religious and volunteer-oriented life. She also talks about the impact CAP had on herself and her future ambition as a visiting nurse for the elderly. Overall, Vanasse concludes that CAP was a good experience for her.

Keywords: Career ambitions; Career goals; Christian Appalachian Project (CAP); Communication; Communities; Good experiences; Meeting people; Religiousness; Visiting nurses; Volunteerism

Subjects: Christian Appalachian Project; Christian life.; Communities.; Community; Community development.; Community involvement; Community life.; Nonprofit organizations.; Religion; Voluntarism.; Volunteering; Volunteers.