Originally created 07/11/00

Teens lend hand to help others



Clara Peterson said she hopes the workers on her roof can stop the raindrops soon.

Mrs. Peterson's home on 14th Avenue is one of nearly 20 homes that more than 200 teen-agers are repairing in Augusta this week in an effort to change the world, one house at a time.

When a typical summer shower moved overhead Monday, a group of 12 youths from North Carolina, Florida and Evans hurried to cover Mrs. Peterson's roof with a tarpaulin.

The group is part of World Changers, a student initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board. They had taken half the tin roof off Monday and plan to replace the entire half with shingles by the end of the week. But Monday, Mrs. Peterson had to watch the rain drip into the house where she has lived for 60 years.

She said she was glad to see the youths, but the attention her house is getting doesn't phase her neighbors.

"They have siding on their house," she said. "I don't expect they're jealous."

World Changers has more than 70 projects in and outside the United States this summer. This is the initiative's second year in Augusta, but the project is now in its 11th year worldwide.

The group pairs locally with the city's Housing and Neighborhood Development, which provides the materials for the projects.

"They pick the place and you go. It could be in Canada or it could be in Africa," Macon resident Matt Cogburn said.

Matt and the other members of his crew pay their own way to Augusta and are sleeping on the floor at First Baptist Church during their stay.

The job offers them more than a chance to fix a roof, he said.

"You get to help people out," he said. "It's a good way to witness and show them about God."

The workers started at 7:30 a.m. Monday and when the afternoon heat came they were trading shots from a small water spray bottle. By 4 p.m. they were on their way back to the church, where they gathered with the other 17 crews for a worship service.

Knightdale, N.C., resident Heather Ricks jumped at the chance to work with World Changers.

"I was ready to do it as soon as I was old enough to do it," she said.

Thirteen-year-old Dawn Hensley is not old enough to be a part of the team, but she was allowed to hammer away Monday because her father oversees the Augusta projects.

"I'm helping out because I like to do stuff like this," she said.

Reach Matthew Boedy at (706) 823-3339.