Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Youths Help Others through Mission Trips

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Youths Help Others through Mission Trips

Article excerpt

On a recent summer afternoon, a group of teens walked into a laundromat in Avalon and surrounded the only customer, who was seated with her laptop.

The teen in the middle of the group held out a folded bill and said, "We found this $10 bill in a machine and want you to have it."

An adult who was accompanying the teens said the group was from a church in Virginia and was helping with The Pittsburgh Project.

"We are here to serve Pittsburgh," said Roger Doughty of Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Va. "If you can't use it, please put it in a church plate."

He and Julianne Kim, a college student, led a crew of 28 middle school students and eight adults in participating in The Pittsburgh Project during its 30th summer of offering home repairs to mostly elderly residents.

They were among a group of nearly 1,300 volunteers, some of whom came from 12 states to stay for a week.

William Thompkins, executive director of The Pittsburgh Project, said church groups of young people traveled here to participate in the eight-week program. A group from a church in Iowa has been here each year for 30 years.

The teens get sweaty. They work together to benefit Pittsburgh nonprofits. They build relationships and repair buildings. And other groups donate their time and efforts to help with programs and missions here and abroad.

The Urban Impact Foundation, in its 20th year of operation on the North Side, needed youth counselors to reach 1,500 children, mostly at urban day camps.

"We even have kids from our programs who have grown up and come back to serve on our staff," said the Rev. Ed Glover, founder and president of Urban Impact Foundation.

It is not unusual for local groups to travel to serve other communities. Youth from Bellevue Christian Church spent a week in June with youth from several states at Kentucky's Summer in the Sun program. …

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