"Tons of Fun" in the Sun

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

For most teenagers, "tons of fun" in the summertime means a day at the beach. Not so for some 400 kids from 10 states who paid a weeklong visit to the central Virginia city of Lynchburg in July 2005.

[Photo: Two smiling teenagers rebuilding a home]
Two program participants rebuilding a home.

Under the sponsorship of Rebuilding Together-Region 2000 and the Group Workcamps Foundation, the 401 teenagers � all over the age of 14 � arrived on a Sunday for a full week of repairing and rehabilitating 56 homes in the area. Divided into 68 work groups, the kids worked under the hot July sun repairing roofs, fixing porches, replacing shutters and giving houses a fresh coat of paint.

Though Rebuilding Together-Region 2000's summer fix-up blitz in Lynchburg did not receive any HUD funds, the organization is a sub-grantee of the City of Lynchburg's CDBG program. "Rebuilding Together-Region 2000 is an essential and, even better, hard-working partner," said Melva Walker of the City of Lynchburg, "of our continuing HUD-funded efforts to preserve Lynchburg's housing stock � one of the most diverse and historic in the Commonwealth."

"It's really for me," Pennsylvania high school junior Adam Kauffman told The Lynchburg News & Advance. "I take it over a job getting paid. It leaves you with with a special feeling." "It's tons of fun," agreed Molly Bruno from Delaware.

"This is the biggest thing we've ever been a part of," said Pete Warren, executive director of Rebuilding Together-Region 2000 which raised $19,000 for building material. Noting that each teen not only provides free labor, but also had to pay $400 to participate in the program, he said "there must have been something about the foothills of the Blue Ridge that attracted the people to come."

And, it's clear, the homeowners are glad they came. "These are the sweetest kids in the world," said Bertha Toliver whose home of 42 years on Federal Street got a visit from the volunteers. "I don't want them to leave."

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