Church Youth Groups Repair Homes and Spread Hope - Wallingford Work Camp
There's a bunch of teenagers swarming round a residential home, coming and going in a flurry and making a racket. Out of control party? Vandalism? Actually, these kids are volunteers, providing home repairs for elderly, disabled or low income residents in a small town, and trying to bring hope to their lives while making some lasting connections.
These kids are members of the Wallingford Work Camp which was started by 23-year-old Wallingford native Connor Filkins. Back in 2009 when Connor was just a freshman in high school, he went on a mission trip with his church youth group to build a deck for a woman who could not afford to do it herself in Oswego, NY. It was a very fulfilling experience for Connor, so he kept doing the mission trips. Now, to help out his hometown, he started the Wallingford Work Camp-- a 440-person, weeklong service project in July to help those in his own community who cannot afford to do small home improvement projects.
Sally and Alan Weisker are a couple whose home has a rotted out front porch, siding with peeling paint, and a wheelchair ramp with broken railings. "We've been looking to have this done for over a year now but money was tight," Alan commented. Unable to secure financing, Alan looked for an alternative and the Wallingford team was there to fill the need.
Lorraine Westervelt, a Coordinator for the group, is managing 54 house projects during the week, with crews of 6 people at each house. The 360 volunteers come from 17 churches from all over the country and Canada and Lorraine is extremely proud of the spirit behind the entire effort. "I hope people know that there are people that want to do good." she reflected. "The youth that are coming in from all over the country are just a sign of our future, and our future is filled with people that want to help."
Connor felt he could tap into the energy he felt on his mission trips and make a difference in his hometown. "They really proved that we could this and they were ready for it," he said proudly. "They stepped up in a big way!"
Just ask Alan Weisker. He and Sally can now "step up", safely, on their own porch, thanks to a hard working group of teenagers.
To learn more, visit them at: https://sites.google.com/view/wallingford-workcamp-team
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