UK has partnered with the UK Mountain Cats and the Appalachian Center on UK’s campus to begin yearly service excursions to Eastern Kentucky.

Twenty-five student-athletes and staff members participated in the inaugural trip, traveling to Harlan, Kentucky in June for a three-day, two-night service experience unlike any before. This special group participated in service opportunities, working directly with nonprofit organizations in the Harlan area. The trip was planned to reach out to an often underserved region of Kentucky, as well as to provide educational opportunities to student-athletes and staff about a region of Kentucky well known for its love of the Wildcats.

The first stop on the trip was at Willing Hearts, an organization that aims to educate, encourage and empower people while promoting artistic expression primarily through the use of art glass. Student-athletes and staff took a two-hour workshop on stain glass work before creating their own pieces of work, which were then sold through Willing Hearts. All the proceeds from these sales were used to empower the members of the Harlan community.

The next stop on the trip was at Club 180 Ministry, an organization designed to meet the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of children, youth and families in Eastern Kentucky. The day was highlighted by a free, multi-sport demonstration open to all youth ages 6-13 in first through eighth grade to promote physical activity and the positive power of sport.

The trip concluded with time serving with various other organizations in the Harlan area.