The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 17, 2013

Youth Serve-a-Thon slated for Saturday: Teens make Johnstown projects a mission

Kelly Urban

JOHNSTOWN — Area teens are coming together to better the community.

About 40 high school students will participate in Westmont Presbyterian Church’s inaugural Youth Serve-a-Thon that will be held Saturday at various locations in Johnstown.

Tracy Kirkstadt, director of Christian education at WPC, said the idea is for students to do mission work in their own community and earn service hours that many schools are requiring.

“You don’t have to go all around the world for mission opportunities, there’s many things you can do in your own backyard. The best way to start is locally,” she said.

The daylong event was planned by teens who are a part of WPC’s high school youth group and they’ve been coordinating it over the past year. They’ve designed T-shirts, recruited volunteers and organized the projects.

The projects include painting office space at Beginnings Inc. and creating a sculpture to represent the 90 children Beginnings has helped over the years. A group of students will be at Sandyvale Cemetery getting the gardens ready and another will be at the Greater Johnstown Youth League fields sprucing up the area.

“It can be hard for the kids to get started, but once they go and do it there is a gratification that they are helping someone. It might be small and not mean a lot to them, but it does to others,” Kirkstadt said.

A celebration party will be held at WPC to wrap up the day with local teen band State of Surrender providing entertainment.

If all goes well the plan is to expand the Serve-a-Thon to a spring and fall and event.

Anyone interested in participating should call 536-0796.

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