More than two hundred teenagers — mostly from south Charlotte, Weddington, Waxhaw and Fort Mill — participated in a day of service, volunteering at four nonprofit organizations in Charlotte: Crisis Assistance Ministry, Sow Much Good, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte.
This day of service was arranged as part of a three-day youth conference sponsored by the 10 congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the greater south Charlotte area – from the city center to Lancaster, S.C. The theme for the conference is “Ask of God with faith, nothing wavering.”
“We thought it was important to include service because if you want to feel close to God, serving others is a great way to help you do just that,” youth conference director Racquel Blake said. “You come to know Him better as you serve others and then your prayers can be more heartfelt and sincere. You are also closer to the Spirit when you are serving others, which makes it easier to recognize answers to prayers, and see God’s hand in your life. Serving others is also an opportunity to be the answer to someone’s prayer.”
The youth who served at Crisis Assistance Ministry experienced firsthand how they could be the answer to someone’s prayer. A fire broke out the previous night at a local shelter. The residents were brought to Crisis Assistance Ministry to replace some of what had been lost.
Because the youth group had come to serve that day, they were able to prepare a greater supply of goods for distribution than normal.
“It was touching to actually know that our work that day was needed even more than usual. Our group spent a few hours sorting through clothing, shoes, and household goods,” said Alisa Wahrer, president of the Young Women’s organization for this area of the church, who was one of the group leaders. “I was so impressed with this facility. The people they serve are their top priority – ensuring that those that come through its doors feel dignity and love.
“I am thankful for the opportunity we had to see this in action. It is amazing how much work can get done with teamwork.”
Collaboration definitely helped those who went to work at Sow Much Good, an organization whose mission is to educate and provide direct access to healthy, affordable food for those in underserved neighborhoods.
“When we first arrived, it looked like a lot of work, but with everyone working, we got a lot done. It felt great doing something for others and seeing how much we could accomplish,” Brittlyn Anderson, 15, said.
Many teenagers also helped sort and box food at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. This nonprofit has been distributing food and groceries to charitable organizations that serve the needy since 1981. In a thank you letter, Nancy Hagerman, coordinator of volunteers for Second Harvest, said, “Sometimes we tend to worry about youth groups volunteering, especially when it’s such a large group, but they were awesome. Extremely polite, well-mannered and worked so hard to complete their projects.”
Dustin Cheney, 17, was assigned to visit the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte, an organization that provides fun, safe and constructive environments for kids and teens. “We started out playing dodge ball with the kids. The kids involved every one of us and it was a blast to play with them,” Cheney said. “After that, we did arts and crafts and just talked with the kids. I am very thankful for the opportunity to spend time with the boys and girls.”
National Night Out: On Aug 1, neighborhoods throughout Matthews are invited to join thousands of communities nationwide for the annual National Night Out.
For information, or to register your Matthews neighborhood for this year’s National Night Out, please contact Officer Tim Aycock at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-841-6754. The deadline to register your neighborhood is July 12.
National Night Out encourages neighborhoods to gather as a community and get to know one another, along with your local police officers. National Night Out is sponsored by Target and the event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized in their commitment to keeping their homes and families safe.
The recommended event times are 7-9 p.m.
Matthews Gives Back to School: Students have until Aug. 11 to sign up for the event at the Sportsplex, Matthews, 1505 Tank Town Road. From 5-8 p.m. Aug. 18, the Matthews Police Department will be partnering with the Matthews Help center to provide kids in need with school supplies. Sign up through the Matthews Help Center at 704-847-8383. Donations of supplies are also needed.
New principal: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education on June 27 approved the appointment of Ran Barnes as principal at Providence Spring Elementary.
Barnes has held a variety of positions within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools since 1998. He most recently was a talent acquisition manager in human resources. He also has worked as a learning community curriculum coordinator, assistant principal and teacher in CMS. From 1994 to 1997, Barnes was a teacher in Lincoln County Schools. He earned his bachelor of science in nursing from the UNC-Chapel Hill. Barnes earned his master’s degree in science and certificate of educational administration from UNC Charlotte.
Big Day at the Lake needs boat hosts
You can be part of Big Day at the Lake 13 by signing up to be a boat host, or a volunteer.
Big Day at the Lake, which has a 13-year record of helping Big Brother and Big Sisters of the Central Carolinas, needs boat owners to take at-risk kids out on Lake Norman or Mountain Island Laje for a morning of fun. Each “Little” comes with a “Big” — a built-in chaperone — and a signed waiver.
The Big Day at the Lake organizers — all of them volunteers —e xpect as many as 200 kids, which means at least 120 boat-owner hosts are needed July 22. Sorry, no jet skis for this event.
To register as a boat host or to volunteer, go to: www.bigdayatthelake.com. The day starts at 9 a.m. at your dock, boat ramp, marina or a yacht club. Pair up with a friend or a group for even more fun. Big Day at the Lake has vounteers who can help with meeting up.
After a morning of sun and fun, join in the picnic lunch at the Energy Explorium, open only to participants.
Details or questions: Dave Yochum at 704-895-1335.