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These teens are fixing homes around Richmond: ‘This is just a miracle’

Posted at 1:36 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 13:36:16-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A program called 'Impact Richmond' brought hundreds of teens from across the country to Richmond for a week in July to volunteer to fix-up homes for those in need.

Several teens worked on a home in Richmond's Carver neighborhood  on Wednesday. It's just one of 11 sites that the teens in the faith-based service camp are working.

"You get memories, you get moments that you wish you could relive when you’re thinking back," volunteer Luke Bennet said as he worked to lay down a fresh layer of mulch in the yard.

Another teen described why she took a week out of her summer to help others.

"I guess just the feeling of your helping someone. And knowing that you’re making a difference in someone’s life," she said. "Sitting on the couch today, you know you wouldn’t be doing that, but coming out here, you know, if I can give a couple hours of my life in a week, I mean that’s cool."

The camp is put on by a church called The Chapel -- which is also where the 125 teens are sleeping, eating, and living while they're not at the work site.

This year marks the fourteenth year that teens have come out to do house repairs, painting, yard work for homeowners in need.

KJ Julian, President of Impact Richmond, said it's all about showing people they can make a difference in their own neighborhoods.

"We live in this awesome city that we love, students who don't live here come and see this awesome city that we love," said Julian. "But there is such a need here. Like stuff needs to get done, and people are living in really tough conditions. I want them to see that you don't really need to necessarily to the other side of the world. There's stuff right here in our own backyard to serve those around us. All we have to do is just go."

Zanthia Mathis has owned a home in the Carver neighborhood for ten years. Her home is just one of the homes where work is being done.

Volunteers are working to replace the front porch steps, some handrails, and the fence in the backyard among other things. She said a lot of the work is work she cannot do by herself. She said she is extremely grateful for the help.

"Words cannot express. You sit and ponder sometimes, how am I going to get this done? You look at the figures, you punch the figures -- we'll put this aside for that -- but sometimes the money never adds up to what you need to get these things done and this is just a miracle. Just short of a miracle."