Monday, July 15, 2013

Fixing houses through faith: Students repair more than 60 homes in Muskegon area

By Brandon Champion |
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on July 12, 2013 at 6:55 AM, updated July 12, 2013 at 6:56 AM

MUSKEGON, MI – They've come from all over, but with a common goal in mind.
For the past week, as many as 380 high school students from around the Midwest have moved to the Muskegon area in an effort to make the lives of the area’s low-income senior citizens better.
The students are part of the Group Workcamps Foundation. The foundation, which was founded in 1991, organizes hundreds of short-term mission trips in the United States and abroad which focus on home repair and community service.

“There are so many things I like about this,” said Tara Brooks, 24, of Arlington Heights, Ill., who is participating in her 11th mission trip. “Group Workcamps does an amazing job organizing this. You get to meet a lot of random people. The residents are awesome and so grateful for everything we do.”
Catholic Charities West Michigan is sponsoring this week’s Workcamp.

“The Workcamp philosophy supports our mission of offering innovative, collaborative programs that deliver high-quality social service programs to those in need,” said Deborah J. Nykamp, president and CEO of Catholic Charities West Michigan. “We are very pleased to host these dedicated and hard-working young people, who will be able to make a very real difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable seniors.”

The students, who come from nine different Midwestern states, will spend their week offering free repairs at more than 60 homes. Those repairs include painting, roofing, repairing porches, building wheelchair ramps and assisting with any other household chores needed.

On Thursday afternoon, five of the students were at the Muskegon Heights home of Alice Doxey. Doxey, 75, has lived in the house on Maffett Street for 47 years.

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