California youth program makes a difference in Mississippi

February 21, 2008

Two dozen representatives of the youth program at San Ramon Valley UMC have returned home after their third United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) trip to Mississippi to provide Hurricane Katrina relief. The teens and adult volunteers were able to work on four homes – laying tile; scraping, mudding, and sanding walls; installing insulation; sweeping; and doing “lots and lots of painting.”


Youth Director Michael Stephenson says the mission trip teaches each young person vital work skills, but what is more important, sacrificial giving.


“I think it is good to get them out of their comfort zone, and get them out of the bubble they live in,” Stephenson told Gulf Coast station WLOX- TV.


The young people seemed to agree.


“It's a good thing,” volunteer Corinne Warnock said. “People are still in awful conditions. There are still houses that are only half finished.”


Nick Johnson, 16, added that he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to assist the less fortunate in their time of need. “People are always looking for help, and they are grateful when they get it,” Johnson said.


Another youth team member, 12th grader Liz Walz, offers her own account of the experience (see Remembering Hurricane Katrina).