Student ministry group spruces up communities across country
BY MOLLY BULLOCK World Staff Writer
Thursday, June 28, 2012
6/28/12 at 3:46 AM
Having tidily painted Alaska a bright yellow, the girls started in on Texas.
Leah Young, 14, edged white paint along the border with Oklahoma as she exchanged quips with friends.
Young and about 20 other students came to Tulsa this week from Richmond, Ky., for a service project at Emerson Elementary School. In addition to painting playground equipment and courts and doing yard work, the group revitalized the schoolyard's faded sidewalk map of the United States.
The students and five adult leaders are serving Tulsa this week through Christ in Youth's Engage: Service program. They're part of 160 seventh- through 12th-graders who came from Kentucky, Texas and Missouri to help improve Hoover, Lone Star, Sequoyah and Emerson elementary schools.
Students arrived Monday evening, were to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will leave Friday morning. Engage: Service is one of Joplin-based Christ in Youth's several summer programs across the country. Church groups sign up for service projects, and Christ in Youth arranges logistics.
Despite soaring temperatures, the students seemed upbeat. Youth minister Jeremy Wasch said you won't hear them complaining.
"They work until we say stop," he said. "We've told them from the beginning: 'Stay hydrated. Don't take a break every five minutes, but you know your body, so respect it.' "
Wasch said that with so many activities these days, kids don't set aside time to help others. He said the program benefits students because it makes them "available to see what's out there and who they can help."
On Tuesday, Young and two others painted hopscotch and four-square courts. They worked on the sidewalk map Wednesday. Adult leader Jamie Hislope, a second-grade teacher, knew what a fresh coat of paint might mean to Emerson students.
"My favorite thing at school is recess with my kids," Hislope said.
"Playing four-square, that's what we do. ... To be able to paint that court that I know kids are going to get to use, and they're going to enjoy it as much as my kids did, that was awesome for me."
For Young, it's about leaving something better than she found it.
"I like change," she said. "So to feel like I'm going to change a school to make it better makes me feel better. ... It's about other people, and that's what it should be about."
Original Print Headline: Summer of service
Molly Bullock 918-581-8321
Brennan Fields hauls a trash bag Wednesday at Emerson Elementary School. Fields and other volunteers traveled from Kentucky to work on landscaping and other maintenance projects at the school as part of the Christ in Youth Engage: Service program. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Shelbie Kinder paints playground equipment Wednesday at Emerson Elementary School. Students arrived Monday evening, worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will leave Friday morning. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World