JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Young people from across the country have paid for a trip to southern Indiana. Despite paying their own way, the teens are being put to work on summer break.
The youth are part of a national organization called Mission Serve. Nationally, there are several thousand people volunteering across the country and abroad.
In Jeffersonville, the teens are working on projects at a dozen homes.
"This week, we are going to be building ramps, doing a kitchen renovation, tearing off a whole roof and putting a new one back on, doing some vinyl siding, if there's a need, we'll do our best to fill it," said Anthony Gualtieri, lead pastor at First Baptist Church of Jeffersonville.
Pastor Gualtieri has worked with Mission Serve before and recently introduced the organization to the city of Jeffersonville. After that, members of First Baptist went door-to-door to find the need.
"When you're mopping up water, because the storm water has come in around the windows, you know something has to be done," Jeffersonville homeowner Patty Hadley said.
Hadley is one of the homeowners being helped by volunteers.
"Just a blessing to have somebody step in and do it. I have wanted to get it done, but not having the personal funds to do it, I put it off," she said.
No money, no problem. The volunteers are replacing the vinyl siding on Hadley's home at no cost to her.
"I just believe that God has a reason for me being here," said 14-year-old Nadia Torres, from Dallas, Texas.
Nadia is one of more than 150 volunteers in Jeffersonville for the week of service. They are using their time and talent to touch and help as many homeowners as possible. All of the homeowners need help but have limited resources.
"It's really heartbreaking hearing that, but the fact that we get to help them is heartwarming," Torres said.
Pastor Gualtieri said the church has a group of volunteers from Dallas, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, and two volunteers from Illinoi, in addition to a group from First Baptist Church, who is hosting the volunteers.
Gualtieri said the teens are giving more than just time.
"They all pay roughly $260 to come and work for us and our community," he said.
When they're not on the job, the teens will eat, worship and sleep at the church and do a little outreach.
"They'll knock on doors, they'll ask if they can pray for people, just to get to know 'em," Gualtieri said.
The homeowners are not being charged, but Gualtieri said the projects are not cheap, costing over $40,000 between material and labor.
"They're learning to be a blessing to other people and that's good," said Hadley, who is on a fixed income. But she has figured out a way to pay the volunteers.
"I took in extra groceries this week and we're fixing lunches for them everyday," she said.
The teenagers say it is unnecessary but appreciated, and that they're thankful.
Meanwhile, a free meal is not the only reward for the volunteers.
"I'm happier seeing people happy and helping them here. It feels way better helping somebody else," Torres said.
All of the projects are expected to be done by Friday afternoon.
There will be a closing ceremony Friday evening at First Baptist before the teens head home Saturday morning.
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