Immersion Trips

An Immersion Trip Will Change Your Life

The toughest trip you will ever take will be one of the greatest weeks of your life! Anyone wishing to make a life-changing trip is welcome. Go solo to create lifelong friendships or invite a whole group. Forty-three states, five provinces in Canada, and three countries overall have been represented on our trips. Lend a Hand…Change a Life!


Learn more about our programs Louisville Appalachia |Belize | Nicaragua 
What is an Immersion Trip?
HouseBlessing What is an Immersion Trip? Hand in Hand Ministries’ immersion trips go far beyond “voluntourism” and truly transform both the lives of the trip participants and those we serve. Working side-by-side with the people of Belize, Nicaragua, our neighbors in Appalachia, and right here in Louisville, you will experience fascinating cultures and make new friends. Learn the history of the regions we serve, enjoy the geography and natural beauty. One-week immersion trips are available to Belize and Nicaragua. Building a new home, repairing an existing house, and working with the children in Hand in Hand’s programs are all part of a week you will never forget. In Appalachia, we offer one, two or three-night trips to our Auxier Center, just outside of Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Repairing homes, building wheelchair ramps, and working with our neighbors in eastern Kentucky are parts of trips scheduled from spring through fall. In Louisville, we offer 4-hour, 8-hour, and overnight(s) experiences. Volunteers will be working with local families on home repair and community clean-up, while learning about the history and culture of West Louisville. Trip-mayan ruins Who Should Go on an Immersion Trip? Our “tripsters” include individuals, families, all church groups, schools, youth groups, and businesses. We encourage all people of every faith and good will to join us on this journey. People from 43 states and a variety of countries have traveled with us. You do not need any special skills, just an open heart and open mind. Need More Info? To learn more about us, where we go and what we do, Hand in Hand invites you to join us each month for an “Explore the Mission” Tour. It is a one-hour program to familiarize you with Hand in Hand and each of our trips. You will learn stories and be able to ask questions. To request information, book a trip or create a group trip, please contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.
Immersion Trips Dates
Become a tripster! Yearly, we offer approximately 75 trip opportunities domestically and internationally. You can help us build strong communities too! The following schedule lists available trips for all our locations. Immersion Trips: Please Join Us! (Open to the Public)  
2019 Don't See a Date that Works for You? Call Us and Create Your Own!
January 17 Retiree Day, Louisville
February 10-16 Belize (FULL)
February 21 Retiree Day, Louisville
March 17-23 Belize
March 21 Retiree Day, Louisville
April 4-7 Appalachia (FULL)
April 18 Retiree Day, Louisville
April 25-28 Appalachia
May 16 Retiree Day, Louisville
June 9-12 Appalachia (FULL)
June 12-15 Appalachia
June 20 Retiree Day, Louisville
July 12-13 Louisville
July 18 Retiree Day, Louisville
July 21-27 Belize (FULL)
August 15 Retiree Day, Louisville
September 19 Retiree Day, Louisville
October 3-5 Louisville
October 24 Retiree Day, Louisville
October 27-30 Louisville
November 3-9 Belize
November 21 Retiree Day, Louisville
November 24-30 Belize (Thanksgiving trip)
December 5 Retiree Day (Holiday Party)
Trip coordinators will take care of all your needs to plan every aspect of the trip. Details are always planned for tripsters transportation, lodging, work site guidance and cultural activities. All skill levels are welcome. All you have to do is bring an open heart and open mind! Create your own immersion trip group! Hand in Hand Ministries works with churches, schools and other organizations to schedule immersion trips. Contact the Hand in Hand office if your organization is interested in taking a group to Appalachia, Belize, Nicaragua or Louisville — let’s get your group added to the list! For more information, please contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.

Closed Group Trips (Not Open to the Public)Click below to view the organizations and groups that will be traveling with us this year! We hope your group will consider joining us. (*) Denotes groups that have been traveling with Hand in Hand for over 7 years.

Appalachia (eastern Kentucky): Click here to see who is traveling with us.
For more information about creating your own group immersion trip, contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.
February 24-March 1 Assumption High School, Louisville, KY
March 10-12 Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY
March 13-15 Holy Trinity School, Louisville, KY
March 17-20 LaGrange Rotary, Oldham County, KY
March 20-23 St. Patrick School, Louisville, KY
March 31-April 3 Tri-County Disciples, LaGrange, KY
May 8-12 St. Vincent de Paul, Rogers, AR
May 29-June 1 St. Matthew’s Parish, Mt. Vernon, IN
June 4-8 Conway, ARK Group
June 9-12 Ursuline Academy, St. Louis, MO
June 19-22 Our Lady of Lourdes, Louisville, KY
June 23-26 St. X High School, Louisville, KY
June 26-29 Sacred Heart Academy, Louisville, KY
July 7-10 St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, KY
July 10-13 St. Edward/St. Francis, Louisville, KY
July 17-20 Middletown Christian Church, Louisville, KY
July 21-24 Church of the Epiphany, Louisville, KY
July 24-27 Bellarmine University Alumni
July 31-August 3 St. Stephen Martyr Alumni
August 4-7 St. Bernadette Catholic Church, Prospect, KY
August 7-10 WE Families Kentucky
August 27-30 Ozark Catholic Academy, Tonitown, AR
September 5-8 Holy Spirit Parish, Louisville, KY
September 12-15 St. Mark’s United Church of Christ, New Albany, IN
September 18-20 Our Lady of Lourdes, Louisville, KY
September 25-27 Our Lady of Lourdes, Louisville, KY
October 3-6 Highland Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY
October 6-9 Sacred Heart Model School, Louisville, KY
October 10-13 Pfrimmers Chapel, Corydon, IN
October 23-26 St. Patrick School, Louisville, KY
November 6-8 St. Mary Academy, Louisville, KY
Belize: Click here to see who is traveling with us..
For more information about creating your own group immersion trip, contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.
January 1-5 Pembroke Hill School, Kansas City, MO
January 6-12 Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora, CO
January 13-19 Our Lady of the Woods Parish, Orland Park, IL
January 20-26 Sally Murr and Friends
January 27-February 2 Andrew Reid Memorial House (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
February 3-9 Paulus/Rodgers/Sisters of Charity of Nazareth
February 17-23 Canisius High School, Buffalo, NY
February 24-March 2 Assumption High School, Louisville, KY
March 3-9 Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL
March 10-16 Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO
March 17-23 Darian Eswine and Friends
March 24-30 Debbie Dugan Memorial House (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
March 31-April 6 Trinity High School, Louisville, KY
April 7-13 Cristin Gaston Memorial House (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
April 28-May 5 Spryfield, Nova Scotia
May 5-12 Spryfield, Nova Scotia
May 12-19 YouthBuild, Louisville, KY
May 19-25 St. Xavier University, Chicago, IL
May 26-June 1 University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
June 2-8 Loyola School, NYC
June 9-15 Boston College High School, Boston, MA
June 16-22 St. Patrick Church High School Youth, Louisville, KY
June 23-29 St. Boniface and St. Meinrad, Fulda/St. Meinrad, IN
June 30-July 6 Loyola Blakefield, Towson, MD
July 7-13 Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora, CO
July 14-20 Christ Lutheran, Louisville, KY
July 28-August 3 Walsh/Pierce
September 29-October 5 St. Joseph Catholic Church, Conway, AR
November 3-9 The Freida Stacy Hurt Memorial House
Louisville: Click here to see who is traveling with us..
For more information about creating your own group immersion trip, contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.
January 5-12 Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO
January 18 St. Nicholas Academy, Louisville, KY
January 22 Jacobsen, Louisville, KY
January 24-25 Northeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY
February 8 St. Nicholas Academy, Louisville, KY
February 19-20 Hand in Hand Louisville Staff
February 27-28 Assumption High School, Louisville, KY
March 1 St. Nicholas Academy, Louisville, KY
March 3-8 College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
March 9-16 Boston University, Boston, MA
March 18-22 The High School of St. Thomas More, Champaign, IL
April 2-3 Sacred Heart Academy, Louisville, KY
April 11 Giving Circles Day – Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, Louisville, KY
April 12 St. Raphael Catholic School, Louisville, KY
April 14-19 Immaculate Conception, Mattoon, IL
April 26 St. Nicholas Academy, Louisville, KY
May 10 St. Nicholas Academy, Louisville, KY
May 11 Crossroads Go Local, Louisville, KY
May 17-18 Northeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY
May 19 Family Volunteer Day
June 12-13 St. Martha Catholic Church High School Youth, Louisville, KY
June 17-22 St. Mark Catholic Church, Indianapolis, IN
June 28-29 Ulster Project, Ireland and Kentucky
July 19-20 Northeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY
July 21-25 Northeast Christian Church, High School Youth, Louisville, KY
July 29-August 2 Holy Trinity High School Youth, Louisville, KY
August 3 St. Meinrad Church & Sally Gravatte Family & Friends
September 28 University of Louisville Green Initiatives, Louisville, KY
October 10-11 Northeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY
October 12-19 Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Nicaragua: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are not scheduling trips to Nicaragua at this time.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are not scheduling trips to Nicaragua at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are questions regarding all our trips. If you have questions about specific locations, see the following links:
Appalachia Brochure • Belize Brochure • Nicaragua Brochure • Louisville Brochure

What is the Purpose of an Immersion Trip?
Hand in Hand Ministries offers Immersion Trips for individuals who want to learn more about and contribute to the work that we do through our programs in Louisville, Belize, Nicaragua, and Appalachia. These trips provide individuals the opportunity to experience the great need in each region and the beauty of the people and environment that each place offers. We hope that each person will be able to bring gifts and talents to share through the work projects and be open to receiving the gifts and blessings offered by the people we will encounter. Each immersion trip should allow you to experience the beauty, goodness and unique culture in each of the places we go.
What is the Work of Hand in Hand?

In each location, you will visit and work in the programs established by Hand in Hand or our partners in that region. Belize includes our “Building for Change” program, the Outreach Center for children marginalized by poverty and disease, and Hand in Hand’s scholarship program for high school and college students. Participants on an immersion trip primarily work to build a small home for a family. In addition, you visit sites related to the work of Hand in Hand and have various cultural experiences. In Nicaragua, the trip includes visiting and working with the families in our “Pathway to Change” program plus helping at local preschools, serving in clinics or providing labor for family homes. Time is spent visiting with locals who share insights about life in Nicaragua. Several opportunities for cultural visits are planned. In Appalachia (eastern Kentucky), we operate the Auxier Center where Hand in Hand organizes home repair projects in the region, provides emergency food assistance and also assist other local agencies as needed. Immersion trip participants help with home repair projects or work at our center. You will participate in local events occurring during the time of a scheduled trip. In Louisville, Urban Immersion is Hand in Hand’s newest program devoted to building relationships in our hometown. This program asks volunteers to work with local residents on community projects, take part in area activities and eat at homegrown restaurants. The program hopes to attract local volunteers, corporations and nationwide groups to provide a variety of service in Louisville from one-day service experiences to weeklong immersion trips.

Cultural Awareness
HugIn order for each immersion trip to be a meaningful experience for all, it is essential that participants demonstrate a level of cultural sensitivity. Each person will travel in a spirit of humility, with a genuine desire to meet and talk with local people. It is important to acquaint yourself with and respect local customs. Welcome all that our hosts offer with graciousness and sincere appreciation. Reflect daily on each experience to better understand the world from a perspective different than your own.
Immersion Trip Participation
Waivers, Passports and Age Requirements: Trips will be open to individuals eighteen years and older who complete an application form, provide medical information, pass a background check, sign a liability waiver form and hold a valid passport for the international immersion trips. Passports must be valid for six months beyond the departure date for the trip. Individuals between the ages of 12-17 may attend a trip only if accompanied by a parent or guardian or as a participant with a church or school group. Parents or guardians must sign a liability waiver for their minor children. Abilities and Limitations: Hand in Hand Ministries does try to tailor trips to the abilities and talents of individuals, however, because these trips might involve physical labor and very high temperatures that can be dangerous for those with health limitations. Hand in Hand Ministries also reserves the right to disallow an individual to participate in a trip for any reason at any time prior to the group’s departure. Youth Trips: Special arrangements may be made for youth groups (groups of youth 12-17 years of age) to participate in immersion trips with their church or school for special service programs. Youth must be accompanied by the appropriate number of adults who possess the skill and authority to properly supervise young people both during work assignments and in their free time. Universities: Trips planned with various universities are handled differently. Universities wanting to plan a trip should contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930 preferably one year in advance. Participation in any immersion trip is for the purposes of advancing the mission of Hand in Hand Ministries. Therefore, all final decisions regarding participation in, scheduling of, and activities scheduled rests with the Hand in Hand directors.
Do I Need Immunizations?
It is each trip participant’s responsibility to get the proper immunizations for the region in which you are traveling. Hand in Hand does not require specific immunizations. Each participant needs to discuss this with your doctor. Your need will be based on your health history and medications you are presently taking. We do suggest always referencing the Center for Disease Control website at to educate yourself on up-to-date travels alerts, warnings or restrictions.
What is the Preparation and Planning for an Immersion Trip?
The trip preparation actually begins with the first meeting held for group members. These meetings help to bring unity to the group and allow us to coordinate plans for the benefit of the whole group. Participants in international immersion trips will be expected to participate in one or two trip meetings and regional groups will require one meeting. IMG_6940Ideally, trip participants will also have attended an “Explore the Mission” tour to learn about the entire operation of Hand in Hand Ministries. Groups who wish to plan an immersion trip with Hand in Hand usually begin planning at least a year in advance. The first step is to contact Allison Ridenour or (502) 459.9930 to schedule a date on the calendar. Periods such as winter and spring breaks fill quickly. The group leader will need to provide e-mail contact information so that a record of all communications can be kept.
What is the Cost of an Open Immersion Trip?
An “open” immersion trip is a trip that anyone is welcome to join. We do have closed trips throughout the year for organizations that reserve time for their groups only. [Please see the “What do the Trip Fees Cover” section for more detailed information.] Appalachia (eastern KY): Cost $250 per person for half week Trips generally begin Sunday evening and conclude Wednesday at noon or Wednesday evening until Saturday at noon Wednesday through Saturday afternoon. We also have the options for shorter or longer stays during non-peak months. Final payments are required 2 weeks prior to the start of the trip. Belize and Nicaragua: Cost $2,300 per person* Hand in Hand generally accepts up to 14 participants per trip. We reserve the right to cancel any trip if the required number of participants (8-10) do not confirm reservations and make a deposit within 60 days of travel. To confirm intent to participate in a foreign immersion trip, participants need to turn in forms and the deposit (50% of the trip cost) by the due date (determined by airline confirmation requirements). Final payment is to be made one month prior to departure. Louisville: A variety of options are available A half day experience (4 hours) is $25 – this includes lunch, building materials and a Hand in Hand t-shirt. A full day experience (7 hours) is $40, which includes the previously mentioned items. An overnight trip is $75, which includes the mentioned materials, plus lodging. Finally, our 5-7 day Urban Immersion experience is $300. This includes everything mentioned, plus a welcome meal and cultural activities. * (1) Price is subject to change as airline prices, fuel and cost of work projects increase. (2) Family discounts are available. (3) Pricing for universities, high schools or church groups vary depending on the point of origin. NOTE: University representatives need to contact the Hand in Hand home office generally one year in advance to begin planning a program designed to accommodate your university interests, schedule and pricing. Please contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930
What do the Trip Fees Cover?
Trip fees for international immersion trips planned by Hand in Hand cover the cost of airline tickets (excluding baggage fees). Our trip coordinators can arrange trips from any location. Fees also include all ground transportation, lodging and most meals, and some cultural activities. Most importantly, the trip fees go toward building a house for a local family. IMG_4840There are a variety of cultural activities you can experience after working hard on the house. In Nicaragua you’ll visit the Masaya Volcano, see pottery made at San Juan de Oriente, or go the Pacific Ocean to surf. In Belize, you’ll get to enjoy the island of Caye Caulker, snorkeling, or even zip-lining over the tree-tops. Although we may seem higher in price than other options, we truly believe in the value of our immersion experiences. We also provide comfortable lodging for you to relax in the air-conditioning in Belize or float in the pool in Nicaragua after a hard day’s work. Hand in Hand focuses on building communities in the locations we serve, while also educating volunteers and providing opportunities to experience the local culture, through work, food and fun! (1) Price is subject to change as airline prices, fuel and cost of work projects increase. (2) Family discounts are available. (3) Pricing for universities, high schools or church groups vary depending on the point of origin. Please note that you will need additional money for some cultural activities, one or two meals and souvenirs. Hand in Hand Ministries is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, so the fees you pay for an immersion trip with us are generally eligible for a U.S. federal income tax deduction. You will receive an official acknowledgement from Hand in Hand Ministries for your contribution, but if you have any questions about the deductibility, we recommend you consult with a tax professional.
Support for Your Immersion Trip Experience for Everyone
Trip participants are encouraged, if needed, to seek support, financial and otherwise, for their endeavor from family, friends, co-workers or church members. Hand in Hand will assist with:

  • A sample letter of request for financial support as well as information to provide to supporters.
  • Contributors will receive a “thank you” letter that serves as a tax receipt from Hand in Hand Ministries.
  • We can set up fundraising pages. If you are interested in this please contact Darian at or (502) 439.9930.
Making the Most of the Immersion Trip Experience for Everyone
Trip participants are expected to follow the lead of the staff representative on-site, putting the interests and welfare of the group above individual interest or intention. While participating in any immersion trip:

  • Participants are requested not to distribute or promise any money or goods to anyone without approval of the Hand in Hand representative on site.
  • No tips, gratuities or gifts are to be given to Hand in Hand employees unless instructed.
  • All donations to any of our partners must be made through the Hand in Hand office.
  • All requests for schedule changes or deviations from the itinerary are to be approved by the staff representative on site.
  • Individuals are not to distribute any literature that has not been pre-approved by the CEO of Hand in Hand Ministries.
  • Participants are not to leave the work/ministry site where the group is assigned without express knowledge of the staff representative on site.
Do You Offer Travel Insurance?
Hand in Hand does not provide travel insurance but there are many companies that will provide insurance.

For more information, please contact Allison Ridenour at or (502) 459.9930.

Trip-GirlandBoy “My favorite moment in Appalachia was when our team had the chance to visit the [families’] home. It was very special talking to them and leaning their story while working on their roof. Another on of my favorite moments was when we went to the square dancing party in town. That was a blast!”  – Savannah E. “He had years of talking locked up inside of him. He just wanted someone to hear his story. I think fixing his house was next to having one of use sit and let him tell about his mother how much she was loved.”  – William G. “My favorite moment of the trip was on the final day at the work site when we had out final prayer as a group. The family was so thankful and appreciative…I will never forget it.” – Matthew B. “Getting to spend time with the people of the community and building relationships with all the people.” – Julia C. “[It was] when all of the walls were up and the two girls stood waving to us as we were leaving with the biggest smiles on their faces.” – Kelsy B.