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Youth help repair, upgrade 4 homes in South Carolina

July 16, 2018

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — Kids “not only learn how to use tools, but they learn how to use their minds, open their minds to helping others,” Jeanna Reynolds of Catch the Vision International’s Edisto Mission said.

“And that’s the biggest part of Christianity, in my opinion.”

Youth and adults from churches across Orangeburg County recently converged on the city to help repair four local homes.

The Catch the Vision Edisto Mission is modeled after the Salkehatchie Summer Service Program Mission, a short-term mission for youth in which they make repairs on low- to moderate-income housing during the summer. It is a Methodist Summer Service program.

“We do local mission work with about 30 students in the Orangeburg area and about 10 to 15 adults,” Reynolds said. “This year, we worked on four houses, and the youth underneath the site leader do all the work. They learn how to use tools and they learn how to use their minds to get the houses complete.”

Two of the homes needed new roofs and one home needed electrical upgrades, she said.

“And the last home is a gentleman that lost his leg from (diabetes), and he could not get to his restroom. So we opened that door frame wider in that home,” Reynolds said.

For lunch and dinner, the volunteers go to local churches, where they also share what they are doing in the community, she said. At night, they “camp out” at First Baptist Church Family Life Center.

Grace Porter of Neeses was one of the young people helping out this month at a home on Second Avenue.

“At this house, we did electrical work,” Porter said. “The daughter of the homeowner didn’t have air (conditioning) in her room, and so it was really hot ... and she couldn’t sleep well.”

The volunteers installed an air-conditioning unit in her window, utilizing a new electrical outlet.

Porter said this is her fifth year participating in the program.

“I just love the feeling at the end of the week when you see the homeowner’s face and the feeling you get from doing the good work in the community,” she said.

Tucker King of Orangeburg said, “I’ve been doing this for three years, and I completely agree with Grace -- seeing how much it means to these people who don’t have things that we have.”

Some people take central heating and air for granted, he said, but “these people were running off of one A/C unit in the den and trying to use fans to blow it throughout the house.”

The volunteers also removed old carpets that were aggravating the residents’ allergies and installed new flooring, King said.

“It’s just a great feeling getting to help people around the community out,” Kerri Whetstone of Neeses said. “You meet new people, make friends and learn new skills that you can use at any time in life.”

Homeowner Jerry Harley said she is grateful for the help of the volunteers.

“It means a whole lot,” she said. “I have cancer. and I’m just getting back on my feet and moved back in.

“And now we have (an electrical) receptacle in her (daughter’s) room, and we got air and everything.”

Reynolds said the mission’s goal is to not only help the homeowners achieve a better life, but also to teach the children to love and care for others.

“The kids do a fantastic job, the leaders do a fantastic job, but mainly the leaders want to teach the youth, ages 13 to 18, how to love one another in our community.”

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Information from: The Times & Democrat, http://www.timesanddemocrat.com

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