Ohio Changers perform community service projects

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Helen Stevens points out the difference between weeds and perennials as Joey Brigner (front) and Samuel McKay help to clean up her flowerbeds. The boys were part of Ohio Changers, a faith-based organization that does exterior home improvement projects as a community service.

(Posted June 29, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

“Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing well,” said Helen Stevens as she instructed two teens on how to pull weeds out by the roots.

The teens were part of a crew with Ohio Changers, a faith-based organization that spends one week each year completing exterior construction and landscaping projects for people who cannot afford or do the work themselves.

This year, 12 junior high and high school students from Grove City and West Jefferson spent June 19-22 completing projects in London and West Jefferson. With adult supervision, they built a deck, rebuilt stairs for several existing decks, coated roofs, painted siding, and performed yard work.

Stevens was thrilled to be among the 17 homeowners whose properties received tender loving care. At 92 years (and eight months) old, Stevens still does her own housework and for the past seven-and-a-half years did her own yard work.

“I’m a feisty old lady,” she quipped, as she showed the crew around her beds of hyacinths, tulips, lilies and rhododendrons. “This is the first year I couldn’t handle (the yard work) myself. This is a wonderful organization. I am so thankful to God for them.”

Matt and Sue Stickel of West Jefferson are part of the adult team who coordinated this year’s effort. The mission involves recruiting youths, gathering applications from homeowners, securing donated materials and meals, and finding overnight accommodations for all of the volunteers. This year, the group stayed at First Baptist Church of West Jefferson.

Matt, who has been involved with World Changers and Kentucky Changers for years, said everybody wins when it comes to this mission. The youths learn construction skills and what it’s like to help others, the homeowners see improvements to their properties, and all involved benefit from the positive, constructive interaction.

“We’re sharing Christ through service,” Matt said.

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