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franklin county times

World Changers in Meridian this week

By Staff
SUMMER PROJECT Volunteers with World Changers refurbish a Meridian home during last year's construction project. This week, more than 150 students representing 11 church congregations in nine states will refurbish 15 Meridian residences. Submitted photo
By Ida Brown / religion editor
July 19, 2003
As many youth enjoy the final weeks of summer vacation relaxing or engaging in other activities, more than 150 teens will be hard at work this week on a refurbishment and construction project of Meridian homes in low-income areas.
Arriving Sunday afternoon at Calvary Christian School, the youth are among more than 23,000 junior high, high school and college age students nationwide participating in 82 construction and community service projects this summer under the volunteerism initiative World Changers. This will mark the fifth year the program has been featured in Meridian.
A union of three
Locally, the home renovation project incorporates three principal entities: the Lauderdale Baptist Association, the city of Meridian and the World Changers an initiative of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
According to Wayne Edwards, director of the Lauderdale Baptist Association, the project came to Meridian by way of a state coordinator.
Edwards contacted the project's national headquarters and he and Cross met with Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith, who was sold on the idea.
The city's role in the project is to provide a list of possible homes for renovation, fund-raising within the private sector for the purchase of supplies and then the delivery of supplies. Applications for homes under consideration are accepted by the city's Community Development Department.
Home improvement
This year's week-long refurbishment and construction project begins Monday. Calvary Christian School will serve as headquarters and volunteers will begin each workday at 7 a.m. and finish at 3:30 p.m. At night, they will attend worship services at Calvary Baptist Church.
The youth represent 11 church congregations from Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Guided by adults (known as crew chiefs), the youth will work on 15 home projects performing tasks such as roofing, painting, siding and interior work.
The students are not paid for their work, instead they pay $250 each to participate.
And while Meridian homeowners benefit from the students' efforts, Walters said it is a win-win situation.
Since the city's first World Changers project, more than 80 homes have received assistance. Since 1990, more than 100,000 World Changers students have rehabilitated more than 7,000 homes in 350 communities worldwide.
For more information on World Changers, visit the Web site www.DeMossNewsPond.com/namb..

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