Looking for something meaningful to do during your college break?

Join us and experience why we have hosted hundreds of college students year after year.  

What does it mean to come "Hammer In The Hills"?  

It means you will have an opportunity to enjoy a week in the heart of Appalachia where you will experience the culture, the communities, and the people that make this area uniquely beautiful. 

It means you will work alongside our professional carpenters to build new homes or repair existing ones. You won't be bandaging problems; you will be solving housing issues for those who need it most.  

It means the work you provide is important and meaningful. You will witness firsthand the housing situation in our area, and you will be taking steps toward providing long-term solutions. 

If you are considering volunteering in the heart of rural Appalachia and if you want to build dreams and have an unforgettable experience, we encourage you to come hammer in the hills with us. You won't be disappointed. 

What To Expect

Volunteers work on various phases of construction, from shingling to digging footer drains, framing floors and walls to painting or landscaping. Keep in mind that site development (including moving dirt, building retaining walls, digging trenches, clearing rocks from the land, etc.) is one major component to developing houses in the mountains. It is very typical for volunteers to work on at least one site development project each week. We assign volunteer work based on open projects at the time of your stay.

Life in the Hills

Wake early to eat breakfast. Pack lunches, water, ice, sunscreen, and First Aid Kits for each work site team and distribute to each work site vehicle.

7:45 a.m  We are on our way to meet the carpenters and follow them to the work site!

Arrival at the work site and work/fun begins!

12:00 p.m. Break for lunch.

Everyone stays onsite to eat and enjoy lunch together.

Around 4:00 p.m.  It's time call it quits. We end the workday and head back to First Presbyterian Church.

Return to First Presbyterian and you are on your own. Swim at the Pavilion, check out area attractions, or just relax - you've earned it!

Just So You Know

Construction experience is not required at any of our work sites. You will always have a carpenter onsite to guide you through each project. If some members of your group have construction experience or skills, we will keep that in mind. (Depending on the priorities of our open projects, you may or may not be assigned projects that require this level of skill.) Please keep in mind that we will assign work based on what help is needed most during the time of your stay. Groups with lots of skill may find the House Raising Challenge more appropriate than our traditional volunteer projects.

Some work sites give volunteers the opportunity to interact with homeowners, while others do not.

Adults & Vehicles

You will need to divide your group into work site teams of about 5-6 volunteers (including adults). Groups with youth need to have at least one adult for every five youth. Adults will work alongside youth at the work site and will work with the onsite carpenter to supervise the quality of work and to make sure everyone stays busy.

All groups must have one work site vehicle for every work site. School buses are not permitted for work site transportation. Keep in mind that many of the roads leading to our work sites are still being developed and are difficult to navigate with church buses.


Housing is provided at the First Presbyterian Church of Hazard. They have various Sunday school and fellowship rooms for sleeping quarters. You will need to bring your own sleeping bags/air mattresses. The church offers plenty of space with a large kitchen and has central air and heat.


You are responsible for providing your own meals. However, the facility provided has a full kitchen with all the pots, pans and other cooking utensils you need, as well as flat wear, plates and glasses.


We encourage you to shop for your groceries in our community.


Directions to local grocery stores will be provided upon your arrival.

Showers and Recreation

Showers are at the local recreational center, the Hazard Pavilion. It is located on the same street as the church, about a 5 minute walk away. The Pavilion was built in 1988 and has a heated 25-meter pool, two tennis courts, three racquetball/handball courts, a 1/12 mile long track, a weight room, a sauna, and an aerobics room. All of these activities are available to our volunteers free of charge. You can also check out other local amenities in your free time, if you wish.


The Housing Development Alliance carries accidental and personal liability insurance policies for our volunteers. These policies do not substitute any volunteer’s personal insurance and only applies to volunteers while they are at or commuting to and from the work site.

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