YouthBuild students speak to Rotary

ELKINS — Two YouthBuild North Central students spoke to Elkins Rotarians on Monday about projects they have been working on this year.

Program Manager Michelle Phares said that since beginning YouthBuild in February, the group of enrolled students have completed more than 3,000 hours of service.

Sawyer Summerfield and Molly Lipscomb, two currently enrolled students, gave a brief overview of the projects that they and their classmates have been involved in.

In addition to group exercises and team-building activities, the group has performed various labor-involved tasks around the community.

Lipscomb said they consider Highland Park, where the YouthBuild center is located, to be their home community.

“We’re located in Highland Park, so as a team, we respect our community,” Lipscomb said.

In this area, students are proud to assist their neighbors with tasks, keeping garbage picked up and mowing lawns.

In addition to Highland Park, students also performed service at Glendale Park, where they worked to remove a fence around the skate park area.

“Our goal was to rebuild the fence,” Summerfield said. “What we’re doing next is we’re going to go through and build some skate ramps to add to it.”

Summerfield said that he enjoys time spent at Camp Pioneer doing outside yard work.

“My first project was setting up a walkway with railroad ties to make it more presentable,” Summerfield said.

Summerfield added they are able to offer a great deal of volunteer time to Camp Pioneer because of the many events that take place there.

Working with Melodee Price and West Virginia Make it Shine, students have been involved in a variety of service projects, including cleaning around river banks, railroad tracks, local businesses and other areas.

“West Virginia Make it Shine, we also joined with them and Melodee Price to help bring community the pride by volunteering and giving back to our little town,” Lipscomb said.

Another significant project that Phares said students have been involved with is located in the town of Old Spruce, an abandoned timber town in Pocahontas County.

Here, students have planted 2,700 trees as part of a restoration project for wildlife by helping to restore the stream and provide shade to lower water temperatures for trout to be able to re-enter this area.

This project was led by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and West Virginia University. Phares added that other organizations, including the Canaan Valley Institute, were involved in the project.

YouthBuild North Central is dedicated to providing an atmosphere that promotes growth, respect and dignity to all who they serve with love and appreciation.

The program offers young men and women the opportunity to earn money while gaining hands-on experience through building quality houses. The work YouthBuild participants complete also is reinforced with classroom instruction, job shadowing and personal guidance. Out-of-school youth ages 16 to 24 are eligible to apply. The program typically runs between six and 10 months.


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