200 youth sought for fix-up job

April 14, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Earl Mills is looking for 200 or so young people willing to pay for the privilege of spending a week working in the hot summer sun.

The workers are needed for the Chambersburg Project, according to Mills, pastor of the Chambersburg First Church of God. His church is helping to organize the effort to repair homes around Franklin County for people who are unable to do the work themselves.

Roof repairs, painting, installing wheelchair ramps and replacing windows are among the tasks the students will perform. Mills said older and poor homeowners will be the beneficiaries.

It was a couple of years ago that 29 young people from the church attended a youth work camp in Tennessee to help people in what he called "the heart of Appalachia." Mills said many of them returned with the desire to work on a similar project in the Chambersburg area.


Last fall Mills said the church sent letters to 100 area churches. So far, about 20 have said they want to take part in the project.

He said the Chambersburg Area School District has agreed to let the students stay at Chambersburg Area Middle School during the weeklong project from Sunday, June 21 to Friday, June 26.

Any youths who have completed seventh grade are invited to pick up a paint brush or pound some nails. They, their families or churches are asked to contribute $150 for each child to cover meals and lodging, along with some of the cost of building materials, Mills explained.

He said scholarships also are available for those can't afford the $150.

According to Site Selection Coordinator William Wert, applications for help from 32 homeowners have been received so far. He said each house is visited by the committee, which makes a list of what repairs need to be made, along with the materials and tools required.

"Depending on how many young people we have, we'll prioritize our list" to determine which repairs will be made first, Mills said. He said qualified homeowners have until May 1 to apply.

Churches wishing to participate have until May 15 to join the project. Mills said churches from outside the county are invited to take part.

Despite its name, the Chambersburg Project is countywide, Mills said. Homeowners from Fayetteville, St. Thomas, Marion, Fort Loudon and other areas have sent in applications.

Students will leave the school at about 8 a.m. each morning and work until 4 p.m., Mills said. They will work in groups of up to 10 with an adult supervisor. During the evenings they will take part in programs at the school.

Those wishing to have their homes repaired, or churches willing to take part in the project, may call the Chambersburg First Church of God at 717-263-9523.

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