Last week, Margaret Maysonet of Owego received the help of a group of five youth to complete home modifications that would be difficult otherwise. The group of five, along with their project leader, was made of high school students on a Work Camp mission trip through Group Mission Trips.
The weeklong work camp consisted of 42 crews doing work at local residences. Each crew is made up of five to six workers. In total, there were about 250 people in the Owego area doing minor construction work for people in need. This help includes painting, construction of wheel chair ramps, constructing decks and other repairs.
This year is the twelfth year that Tioga Opportunities Inc. has sponsored the event. Janice Gillette said the organization is responsible for reaching out to people in need and checking the job sites to confirm that each job can be done within the budget, within time frame and by the work force. Tioga Opportunities Inc. is also responsible for raising the funds, all of which come from local businesses willing to donate.
Fifteen-year-old Gianna Benni, from Branford, Connecticut, is on her second mission trip. Every day of the week, she and the rest of the volunteers work from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each volunteer is put in a separate group then the church they came with in order to foster other relationships.
In her previous work camp trip, Benni said she became very close with the people in her group as well as the residents they helped. She even received a Christmas card from her resident in North Carolina.
The other youth workers alongside Benni were Wilona Boafo from Connecticut, Sam Sutter from Ohio and Nick Thimmesch from Maryland. Their project leader, Joan Simonds, from Road Island, accompanied the youth workers.
All parties involved — youth, leaders and residents, stated they are affected positively. Sam Sutter expressed the fulfillment he feels at the end of the week after spending time with the residents and seeing them happy.
Project leader Joan Simonds expressed the rewarding feeling of working with youth who are willing to give up a week of their summer vacation to serve others. She is also grateful for the opportunity to give back after seeing her son serve on other international mission trips.
Margaret Maysonet appreciated the work that the youth put in to help her with her home. Sitting on her patio, she points out the beautifully painted lattice that the work camp finished for her three years ago.
Sometimes the residents get more involved with the youth and leaders by joining them for their lunchtime devotions. On Friday, the residents were invited to the Owego Free Academy, where the workers are staying, for a service and celebration.
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