Kentucky Changers eye West Jefferson

(Posted March 9, 2015)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Kentucky Changers of Louisville, Ky., wants to make a difference in West Jefferson, Ohio.

Peggy Murphy, a representative of the group, presented an informational video at the March 2 West Jefferson council meeting. She explained that through Kentucky Changers, young people help to spruce up homes owned by people who are having difficulties meeting financial obligations to keep up with repairs.

“We’ve had some (volunteers) from West Jefferson participate in our program, and we’d like to come into your community,” Murphy said.

Kentucky Changers, sponsored by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, assembles volunteer crews of young people, from eighth-graders through college students, and adults. The crews spend a week in a community, doing projects such as painting, installing new siding and roofing, fixing windows, and completing yard work. Their efforts improve houses and, thereby, the community, Murphy said.

The crew, which can include as many as 350 individuals, uses a middle school or high school as their headquarters, using the lockerroom showers and setting up sleeping bags on the gym floor. They also work through a church.

Murphy said their schedule for 2015 is full and they are filling in 2016, so it wouldn’t be until 2017 that they could come to West Jefferson.

“The (municipality) provides the funds for the materials and selects homes to be repaired,” she said, adding that the average cost of repairs is around $1,500. “Or it might be a church that provides money for the materials and then it would choose the homes.”

Adult volunteers from the community with construction skills are also needed, she said.

“This seems like a great idea,” said Ron Garver, West Jefferson council president, “but we’d have to be creative in the funding and would have to get the community involved.”

Kentucky Changers was formed in 1994 and has performed repair work in as many as four cities a summer, Murphy said.

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