This summer, while many teachers and students took a break from school, 16 high schoolers and six middle schoolers from St. Peter’s United Methodist Church of Wellington decided to make a difference in Tennessee and North Carolina.
The high school youth of St. Peter’s traveled to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for a week of work to better the life of Dorian Abernathy. Abernathy is a war veteran and retired helicopter mechanic who is losing his ability to walk. He lives in a two-story house, making it very difficult for him to venture outside. The youth helped to complete a large wheelchair ramp to help Abernathy get around his home. The youth took their time and talents and put them to use. “The best part of the trip was seeing a friend of Dorian’s use the wheelchair ramp while we were there,” Caroline Scott said.
Abernathy expressed his gratitude each day they worked by coming out and trying to help teach the youth about measuring and cutting with a saw. He was always taking to the kids about the great work they were doing.
The middle school youth traveled to Weaverville, N.C., to help a blind couple with household repairs. They painted the inside of their house, cleaned the house and applied cool seal to the roof. Each day during their lunch, they sat and talked to Ed Stephens about his life and learned about his blindness. The youth were amazed at how confident the couple was at getting around their house and property without assistance. One of the youth has made contact with Stephens since their return and plans to visit him again in the fall.
“These youth simply amazed me. They never complained about heat or the hours they worked,” Youth Director Samantha Scott said. “The love they showed these strangers was beautiful to watch.”
The youth group has also done local service projects this summer. They bagged 500 pounds of rice for CROS Ministries and traveled to the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home with donations and host a pizza party to two cottages of foster children.