Youth make MDS part of their summer
Volunteers serve in New York, Alberta, Colorado
More than 190 youth and youth sponsors from around the U.S. and Canada gave a week of their summer to serve at one of three Mennonite Disaster Service Youth Project sites.
Youth groups worked in Staten Island, N.Y., High River, Alta. and Jamestown, Colo.
The young volunteers worked at jobs including shoveling mud and rocks out of homes in Colorado that were inundated by floodwaters in 2013, repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island and repairing homes in High River that were flooded in 2013.
In addition to drywalling, painting, digging footers and other construction work, the youth volunteers met homeowners. One evening each week a homeowner would join the groups for dinner and share stories of rescue, survival and the struggles of recovery. Homeowners expressed appreciation to the youth volunteers and told them how much their work helped even if it seemed like only a small part of a huge recovery need.
Project directors reported the youth groups came eager and ready to work hard and went home with some sore muscles, new friends and an understanding of the emotional, financial and physical struggles a disaster survivor must face.
The High River project was also home to Hesston (Kan.) College Disaster Management Program interns for eight weeks. The students complete an internship with MDS as part of the curriculum, which includes construction work and leadership roles at the project.
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