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Youth group gives parents a break for the holidays

December 21, 2000

Youth group gives parents a break for the holidays



Editor's note: This is the 10th in a series of stories running on the 12 days before Christmas to recognize individuals and groups who make the holidays better for others.

By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

Photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

St. John's Lutheran ChurchMARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Teenagers from St. John's Lutheran Church on a mission to help others spent time before Christmas doing just that.

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Young people in the group Fellow Lutheran Youth Together in Evangelism (FLYTE) spent four hours Saturday, Dec. 9, taking care of about 15 youngsters so their parents could get the afternoon off.

"It was a lot of fun with the kids," said Allison Losh of Martinsburg, 16, president of the group.

"They could use the afternoon any way they wanted," said Lisa Burnell, a youth group coordinator. "They could do some Christmas shopping, see a movie or go take a nap if that's what they wanted. We felt it was a nice opportunity for our kids to do something with the younger kids."

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The dozen or so children were mostly toddlers and elementary school students. They made arts and crafts, including ornaments to decorate the church Christmas tree or to take home.

On Sunday Dec. 10, the young people took money from a special program of the Lutheran Church, went to Wal-Mart and purchased $495 worth of items for kids in the Martinsburg Children's Shelter. Their purchases ranged from blankets to colored pencils, model cars, sporting equipment and many among other items.

"I think it's good to help people who may not be as fortunate as others," said Jenna Market, 15, of Martinsburg. The group does other things, such as collecting food around Thanksgiving and shopping for back-to-school items in the fall.

"We try to do a lot of things to help the community," said Tiffany Noll, 13.

"I think it's good for the community," said Losh, surrounded by her friends and the wrapped gifts they had just bought. "It's good for the community to see that all youth are not bad. There's a lot of us who do a lot for the community."

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