One of the Youth Invasion teams works at the William Hester Memorial Garden in Alma on Saturday.
A Youth Invasion team works to clean up a yard on Woodland Drive in Salem.
81 Teens Take Part In This Year's Youth InvasionDozens of local students took part in the annual Youth Invasion service project, sponsored by Salem's Grace Church of the Nazarene.
Youth Invasion helps local residents with yard work or home repairs, especially those who would otherwise be unable to complete the work for financial of physical reasons. Organizer Angie Courtright says the program, which is now in its fourth year, grew out of need.
"Simply looking around our neighborhoods and realizing that we have a lot of folks right in our own backyards that need a helping hand and don't have anywhere else to turn. So it became an easy way to one, help those people, but number two to teach our teenagers that as Christians we believe we have been called to a life of service," said Courtright. "Service can be so simple and it can start right at home."
A total of 81 students volunteered for the four-day event, which wraps up Sunday. One of the students, Katie Daniels says she's proud to be a part of Youth Invasion. "I think something like Youth Invasion is important because it gives our community a chance to see that ya we are teenagers but we still care. It gives us a chance to show how Jesus has changed our lives and been an influence on them," said Daniels.
Volunteers removed brush, maintained wheelchair ramps, and even sealed a roof. Youth invasion expanded past the borders of Salem this year as well in completing 30 projects. Many students volunteered to work on the William Hester Memorial Garden in Alma as well as other projects in the Alma and Odin area.
Courtight says feedback from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. "It has been wonderful. Of course the homeowners are always happy and grateful and share that with us. What am always surprised at are the other people in the neighborhood who will walk over and inquire, ask what is going on, who is behind this, and why are we doing it," said Courtright. "It really gives us a chance to talk to those people and just really witness."
Students involved with Youth Invasion recapped their experiences Sunday morning during church services at Grace Church of the Nazarene.
See other LocalNews news:Kaskaskia College TRiO Program Aims to Help Students Overcome Barriers
Police: St. Louis Officers Kill Knife-Wielding Man
Regional Coalition to Stop the Closure of Murray Center Meets in Centralia
New Illinois Laws Target Senior Care Complaints
Illinois AG Wants Treasurer's Office Lawsuit Dismissed