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Teens help fix up woman's house


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- One Wilmington resident is getting the works. Teens from a Greensboro church youth group are in Wilmington helping make improvements to a home on Mercer Avenue. It's all a part of the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM).

Recipients are chosen based on criteria and an application. These volunteers will work for about six hours each day until Thursday on the house. They will build a back deck, stairs, repaint and replace window frames, just to name a few of the projects.

"That's a wonderful thing that they came down for a week," homeowner Debra Jonshon said. "They say they've done other projects, and they're really nice to work with. They're just so excited, and they're so cheerful. It just picks your spirits right up."

While they're here, the youth group members will also get to have some fun. Yesterday they got to visit the beach. Tonight after work, they're going kayaking.

The group has worked on more than 20 houses in the last month.

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Facts to clear things up

Actually, WARM does not work on public housing or rental property. The requirements of our program include homeownership and an income at or below 50% of the median in their county of residence. With this unique combination, most of the people who qualify are elderly, disabled, or both. They worked hard to pay for their home and are now surviving on Social Security in their “golden years.” They just need a little boost to be able to age in place instead of become a burden to their family or taxpayers in an adult living facility.

It is true that the summer mission teams receive a lot of media coverage. WARM is grateful for that as it helps increase the community’s awareness of the problem of substandard housing AND our organization’s solutions. As WARM has only 2 paid staff, we depend upon our hard-working local volunteers all year long. Unsung heroes from area churches, civic groups, and businesses help their neighbors in need all year long.

Ms. Johnson, a single mom, is physically able to help. She and her family are hard at work with the volunteers this week. This is community involvement at its best. Learn more at

Jeannie Cariker Skane, WARM Executive Director

Tom...I don't think you will

Tom...I don't think you will get today's youth around here to do much of anything. Too many career texters, can't keep their fingers off their phones long enough to do anything else. I agree with you, the tenants of public housing should share in the maintenance of their homes. No reason they can't do simple stuff like paint a wall, if they are physically able. When I was in service, we could go to the base housing department and get paint for free if we wanted to fix up our homes.

Very true

I said it long ago that the recipients of welfare should be forced to maintain their living area. Have a group that picks up trash since most public housing residents can't recognize a trash can. They should be cutting grass and shrubs, learning how to work on plumbing, electrical or basic carpentry skills. When windows are broken they should replace them, when walls are spray painted they should repaint them. Then maybe they will learn not to destroy where they live since the repair will be left up to them.

A few weeks ago

there was a similar undertaking by youths from various church groups who came to Wilmington for a week and performed similar services. I believe that group was significantly larger; perhaps 200 to 300; and they actually slept on the gym floor of an area high school.

I noted, then, two items.

1. Why can'nt residents in public housing projects, who are physicaly able, perform similar work. Sort of a pay back to the taxpayers who fund their hosuing subsidies. I suggested the Housing Authority might team up with WAVE in order to provide transportation.

2. I also questioned why local Wilmington youths can not undertake similar projects. If they do, it fails to attract media attention. It would seem, though, doing some good deeds would go far in building self esteem and giving them something to do during the summer months.

To date, and I think it has been 4 weeks, no response.

It's pretty pitiful when out of town youth come to Wilmington to lend a helping hand while local residents and youths, many of whom receive some sort of public support, can not pay back through putting in some sweat and labor.

And we wonder why things don't change?

Tom...there are youth groups

from Wilmington that perform repair work...but not here. The Appalachian Service Project (ASP) is an organization where youth groups from various churches do repair work for one week in the area known as Appalachia. One local church, Pine Valley Methodist, has had youth groups going to WV and Eastern Kentucky for 10 years.

Having been involved with ASP for two years, these kids raise 100% of the money needed to travel to/from their work area including paying for room/board...which is basic at best. The two years I attended, we slept on the gym floor at a high school located in Bear Branch, Kentucky...along with about 100 youth from other churches.

Fellow Taxpayer

you've brought some pretty good information here. As I noted, local youth efforts, for the most part, were not getting media attention.

My guess is your participants, along with others mentioned in other posts, are on track for success in life and understand what it means to "help others".

But look at all the youths in Wilmington who do not.

I still say, the WHA and WAVE could team up and put some of these young people to work during the summer months. Unless they're going to summer school, or have summer jobs, there's really no logical reason for them not to participate.

Good Job to you and your group.

WWAY, why don't you put some focus on these efforts once a year?

SHBC Youth Group

The youth group and leaders from Scotts Hill Bapist Church leave Saturday morning to do this type of work in Buffalo, NY. Please do not put all youth in the same catagory. We have a lot of great teens in this area. As an adult, I do not want to be catagorized negatively.

Thinks don't change

Because people don't want to earn the lifestyle they have; they'd rather keep asking for handouts. No sense in breaking their back to earn a living when the world is given to them for faking a need.

But you're wrong, I seem to remember someone promising a lot of change not too long ago. I'm sure it'll happen someday.