LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 8, 2014) – Teenagers from across the nation are in Little Rock this week improving living conditions of local residents. More than 220 students will be working on a variety of assignments that range from painting houses to putting siding on homes.
The students are volunteers with World Changers, a nationwide faith-based organization started in 1990. Since then, it has connected teenagers with thousands of service projects throughout the United States. This is the group's 11th year in Little Rock, and this time, crews are implementing repairs at 14 local work sites.
One of the sites selected for the program was the home of Little Rock resident Mertis Valley.
“This makes me feel like the City of Little Rock really cares about me and my family,” said Valley. She and her husband, Efonza, have lived in the house for 22 years in the historic Quapaw Quarter.
The World Changers team fixed the Valleys’ roof, put in new doors, repaired wood that had deteriorated on the exterior of the home and gave it a fresh coat of paint.
“I can’t even express my appreciation,” said Valley. “It feels like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders.”
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola is excited to see the World Changers program grow into an annual initiative.
“World Changers helps local families with much-needed renovations,” said Stodola. “This is a great example of how faith-based organizations can partner with the City of Little Rock.”
City Director for Ward 1 Erma Hendrix is proud of her Ward’s long-time support of the World Changers program.
“Young people are our future, and it motivates me to see how committed these teenagers are to the future of Little Rock,” said Hendrix.
Teenagers who worked on the Valleys' home were on site finalizing the project.
“It’s very inspiring to see the reaction when homeowners see the work we’ve done,” said World Changers volunteer Claire Beauchamp. At age 12, Beauchamp is already a veteran at this kind of work having already completed a summer’s worth of projects last year.
“This kind of volunteering pushes me forward to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Beauchamp. “As a 12-year-old, I don’t often get a chance to do something this important for adults – it’s awesome.”
The program is a partnership between the Pulaski Baptist Association, local businesses and the City of Little Rock’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Program.
Andre’ Bernard, Director of Housing and Neighborhood Programs, was at the location to support the team on behalf of the City.
“This is an exciting program for the City of Little Rock,” said Bernard. “World Changers and the Lifeline Baptist Church have been valued long-term partners to our community.”