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Youths spend summer giving back

September 13, 2011
The Inter-Mountain

FRANKLIN - This summer, seven local youths dedicated 8 weeks of their summer vacation to serving Pendleton County by participating in Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity's Summer Internship Program. Many traded trips to the beach and higher paying jobs for long days in the sun serving local families in need.

Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity launched their Summer Internship Program five years ago in an effort to engage local youth in community service projects.

"We wanted to tap into the often overlooked potential of youth bringing new ideas and energy into our organization," said Michelle L. Connor, C.E.O. of Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. "We learned a lot from these young adults over these past eight weeks and they learned a good bit about construction practices, volunteer management, responsibility and leadership."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Seven local youths participate in Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity’s Summer Internship Program. Top row from left are, Amanda Villalobos, Tim Windett, CJ Malcolm; bottom row, Amy Wimer, Rauchad Maddox, Emma VanScoy and Ryan Niblins.

The interns worked for eight weeks performing various hands-on tasks including working in the office, registering volunteers, counting inventory in the warehouse, and physically building houses on a handful of the construction sites throughout Pendleton County. There were long hot workdays and plenty of hard work, but there was also time for reflection and making new friends.

"These young adults were really amazing," said Evan Zuverink, a political science and communications graduate student at Marshall University, who spent his summer working with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity through the Community Works of West Virginia leadership program. Among other roles, Evan coordinated the summer internship program for the organization. "To have such a vested interest in their community at their age is all but unheard of. These seven individuals truly embody servant leadership and I am proud to have worked with them this summer," continued Evan.

The future of the Habitat movement and our community lies with young people," said Connor. "Our efforts today should be directed toward fostering service to others in our youth. These young folks will one day be the leaders of our community. Two of the Summer Interns served in the program last year - Emma VanScoy and Ryan Niblins. We appreciate their renewed commitment."

This was the fifth year of the program and it was open to highly motivated young adults ages 17-25. Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity is already planning for its 2012 Summer Internship Program.

The seven youth adults that participated were Emma VanScoy, a sophomore at Pierpont Community and Technical College; Amanda Villalobos, a sophomore at Marshall University; Ryan Niblins, a sophomore at West Virginia University; Rachaud Maddox, a sophomore at Fairmont State University; Amy Wimer, alumni of Shepherd University; CJ Malcolm, a freshman at South Branch Community and Technical College; and Tim Windett, who graduated from South Branch Career and Technical College this past May.



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