Teens spend summer helping communities

June 23, 2010 3:23:53 PM PDT
In this Hometown Live, we went to the Third Ward to the FORGE's new family center to see how hundreds of kids are spending part of their summer helping their community. On Wednesday, the teens were celebrating all the hard work they had put into a project in Third Ward. For the entire week, kids from Sagemont Church and FORGE's vocational school dedicated their time, energy and sweat to help complete strangers.

On a day when most teens would be relaxing comfortably by the pool, Andrew Doster is hard at work.

"Just doing what God's called me to do," Doster said.

It's no small sacrifice if you consider Wednesday just happens to be his 16th birthday.

"Everyone else would be going like, 'What did you get on your 16th birthday? Cars and stuff like that. I get to say, 'Well I got to help out other people,'" he said.

And that is exactly the spirit which has drawn more than 300 young people to the Third Ward this week.

"I don't know anybody here, but we love them just the same because God loves them, and that's just the same thing," 13-year-old Amy Guel said.

From helping clear overgrown lots, to picking up trash left over for years, organizers of the mission say their goal is twofold. On one hand, a neighborhood gets some much needed attention, but on the other, the teens themselves are taught the value of giving.

"If there are no regrets in the future, it's going to pay off because I'm going to learn how to be a better person," said 14-year-old Joshua Charles Williams.

"To really join together to do something for someone else, it is in every sense of the word a random act of kindness," said Quincy Chapman with FORGE for Families.

It's an act that folks like resident Joe Doucet say is much more than a fresh coat of paint.

"It's just a feeling you have inside that you know you're not alone," Doucet said. "And when you know that you're not alone, that means a lot," Doucet said.

The students helped complete 20 projects. They're living in dorms at Houston Baptist University while they complete the rest of the week.

They wander into areas and clean up anything they find, from litter to even a bag of animal bones one teen found in a wooded area.

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