Last week in the north central rural community of Trenton, Missouri, I observed the true spirit of the theme of the 2010 National Home Ownership month – Protecting the Dream. It was the gathering of 150 volunteer youth from six different states representing seven churches providing labor for repairs to 15 houses.
The participating youth were associated with World Changers, a ministry of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They each donate approximately 36 hours of labor and provided repairs on the homes covering a variety of maintenance items including: roof replacement, door and window replacement, exterior siding replacement, ramp construction, painting and general repairs. Adult leaders and construction project supervisors provided the training and technical assistance to accomplish the work.
A common theme was that the youth were eager to help and the homeowners were most appreciative.
Jessica Cramer, a first time volunteer from Creston, Iowa said, “This is a neat experience and I feel good about being able to help someone.” Similarly, Annette Brodie, the homeowner, remarked, “I feel like my prayers were answered with these young people providing the labor for helping me with these repairs. “ Brodie further remarked, “Last night I had the best night’s sleep. The new doors and windows made me feel more secure that I have felt in a long time.”
Dave Clarkson, Chillicothe Area Specialist for Rural Development, pointed out that Rural Development provided financial assistance on eight of the homes totaling $25,723. Seven homeowners received grants to cover the costs of the needed materials for the repairs and one homeowner had a 1 percent loan. This is the seventh year that Clarkson and Missouri Rural Development have partnered with World Changers. The agency sets aside home repair loan and grant funds each year for this worthwhile project.
During the visit Janie Dunning, Missouri Rural Development State Director, presented a Certificate of Appreciation to recognize the World Changers youth for their commitment as volunteers for the repairs to the homeowners.
“I found this ministry very heartwarming,” Dunning remarked. “It reminded me of providing a similar kind of care and concern help when I participated on a mission trip to Africa earlier this year in January. It is really great when Rural Development can partner with World Changers. This is an excellent combination of young people helping senior homeowners during National Home Ownership month with repair of their homes and exemplifies our commitment to the future of rural communities.”
Missouri USDA Rural Development Partners With World Changers to Help With Housing Repairs. Volunteers nail down window frame with air gun.
Certificate of Appreciation presented by Janie Dunning, Missouri Rural Development State Director.