Two hundred teens and their adult supervisors are performing community service at 33 sites all over Madison County this week as part of a youth mission sponsored by the local Roman Catholic diocese.
The high school students hail from 12 parishes in the Diocese of Columbus. All are participants in Gospel Road, an organization that promotes good works on the local level.
“Mission work doesn’t have to be in a foreign country. It is in your own backyard,” said Pam Heil, a London supervisor.
On Monday, Heil and Denise Zimmerman were overseeing a group cleaning and painting Lifepoint Pregnancy Care Center on Main Street in London. Other Gospel Road volunteers painted at Fairhaven School and Loving Care Hospice. Some socialized and exercised at the Madison County Senior Citizens’ Center.
Similar activities were underway in Plain City, West Jefferson and Marysville, Heil said.
Original plans were for Gospel Road volunteers to work only in Plain City this week.
“We had so many volunteers, we expanded the number of projects,” Heil said.
All 200 participants are sleeping this week at London’s St. Patrick School. They are served breakfast each morning before fanning out to work at assigned locations. It’s work that each pays $125 to perform.
“These teens give up a week of their summer to pay and work,” Heil said.
Gospel Road teens dispel stereotypes that today’s youth are lazy and self-centered, she noted.
Recipients of Gospel Road kindness are often surprised by the hard work and enthusiasm displayed by the young volunteers.
Heil said folks who were apprehensive about having Gospel Road participants around, generally welcome them back.
Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1616 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.