Out-of-state students spend summer vacation helping area residents

Published 5:45 am Saturday, June 15, 2024

Young people from Texas, Oklahoma and other states continue to spend summer vacations here to help mitigate the lingering aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Some pay for the opportunity.

This past week World Changers and BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery have been serving through SWLA Responds, which is a coalition of local churches unified in their desire to help rebuild and restore this area, physically and spiritually. “World Changers, a student ministry, organizes service projects around the country, “ said Hannah Pettefer, Sale Street Baptist Church. Sale Street Baptist Church housed the students this year and the hundreds of students who served in 2022 and 2023.

World Changers travel with their churches and youth groups, and pay an average of $300 for registration as well as all their travel expenses to take part in the work. Many Lake Charles churches and other organizations help support their efforts.

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BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery, a ministry of Texas Baptists, helps communities “bounce back” through long-term disaster recovery. This past week was also BOUNCE’s third trip here. This time, the volunteers were housed by Maplewood Baptist Church.

“We are delighted to be back in Lake Charles for the third year,” said David Scott, BOUNCE director. “We are happy that there are so many highly motivated students who are giving a portion of their summer vacation to service these people who have such great needs.”

These youth not only come ready to work on houses, they inspire local youth with whom they work. That work and the people she met was “eye opening” for Addy Mills, a local high school student. For local high school student Neve Williams, World Changers helped her “learn what it means to get out of her comfort zone and be the hands and feet of Jesus.”