Valada Larkin, of Augusta, has wanted to make some costly home repairs for a while, but she got some much-needed free assistance through the generosity of children.
The rain didn’t stop nearly 70 middle school pupils from Augusta and across the Southeast from making repairs for several needy local homeowners, starting Friday and finishing Tuesday.
“I opened my door Monday morning, and I had a yard full of kids,” Larkin said. “They’ve been scraping, painting, tearing down old screen, cleaning out the garage, pulling up some of the weeds and cutting the grass. Just everything. They even pressure-washed my deck and added railing.”
Irmo, S.C.-based Home Works of America Inc. assists the elderly and disabled with home repairs and remodeling. Each summer, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta holds a session for Home Works of America for middle school pupils, said Loren Lasch, the assistant rector at the church.
Sixty-seven pupils from Augusta, Columbia, Rock Hill, S.C. and Athens, Tenn., along with 11 adults and skilled workers from the church, made exterior repairs to five local homes.
“Everybody that we assist has to have no earned income. It’s people on Social Security and pension. And they all have to own their home,” Lasch said. “It’s just awesome because these kids could be doing anything else with their summer, and they choose to come and help others. They’re just a really awesome example, and we’re really proud of them.”
Larkin, a homeowner on Highland Avenue, said the president of the Sand Hills Neighborhood Association told her about the program and brought her an application. Representatives told her that she didn’t have to do a thing – only give her permission.
“It’s just been amazing to see the kids, so young and enthusiastic,” Larkin said. “They do this work themselves under adult supervision. And they want to. They consider it a service and a work they’re doing unto the Lord. They tell me, ‘Thank you, Ms. Larkin, for allowing us to work on your house.’ ”
But Larkin said that she is the one who is thankful. She couldn’t afford the repairs that her home needed, she said.
“I couldn’t imagine the cost of the work that they did this week if I had to pay professionals to do it,” Larkin said. “I’m just grateful.”