For many teenagers, summer is a time for sleeping in and hanging out by the pool. But for others, it’s an opportunity to help those in need and strengthen their relationship with God. Many youth groups go on mission trips during the summer. One such group is the youth from St. Joseph Parish in Fayetteville, Ark., who travelled to Chattanooga to offer their time and talents at the Home Place.
The group participated in Alive in You, a Catholic conference and service camp. Hosted at Notre Dame High School, the Alive in You conference in Chattanooga gathered more than 400 youth from all over the country to come serve at local nonprofits.
Six girls from St. Joseph and their chaperone came to the Home Place to volunteer. Lupe Lopez has chaperoned several mission trips for St. Joseph youth. She said she loves encouraging young people to get involved and helping them realize what they can contribute to those in need.
“I continue to try to encourage these girls to come out and help other people, just for them, for their self-esteem, to be able to speak out and say, ‘Ok, where can I help you?’ I think we all need to do that.”
The group trimmed and tidied the landscaping around the Home Place, fixed and painted a broken fence, and cleaned the windows. Volunteer Christine Shackleford said she was happy to help the residents of the Home Place.
“They have a lot of other things to worry about, getting their life back together, being on their medications. They don’t need to be doing this kind of stuff. This is the kind of thing we need to be helping out with,” she said.
The girls agreed that volunteering was good both for the people they helped and for strengthening their own faith.
Volunteer Sara Flurry said of the Alive in You experience, “I hope that it will help myself and everyone else to be more willing and open to helping other people, and to help our relationship with God, and to just help us to grow, and help us to serve others.”
Christine said that she had always thought of mission trips as travelling to another country or responding to large disasters. This trip has shown her that mission work can take place close to home. It doesn’t require a lot of resources, just a willingness to help those in need.
If you would like to help us fulfill our mission to aid the most vulnerable in our community, we would love to have you as a volunteer! Just fill out our volunteer request form, and we will be in touch.