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Volunteers Roll Up Sleeves

Suburbs Come To The City

June 30, 2005
By ASHLEY L. BATTLE, Courant Staff Writer

At the Parkville Senior Center, there are several small, handwritten signs that say "wet paint" in the women's bathroom - evidence that volunteers from the Greater Hartford Youth Network had been at work in the city this week.

The youth network brought about 100 adults and teens to Hartford this week from seven suburban churches to volunteer at sites and agencies in need of help as part of "The Hartford Project."

The bathroom was recently painted by members of "The Hartford Project," which is a volunteer effort sponsored by the youth network. The program, which began Sunday and runs through today, is modeled on a similar program in Boston.

On Wednesday, 10 young adults from Wintonbury Baptist Church in Bloomfield worked at the Parkville Senior Center, reupholstering chairs and stocking shelves. Other groups helped paint portions of the women's bathroom. The teens also spent time with the seniors there.

Adam Wittenberg of Hartford is one of the adult leaders from the Wintonbury Church, and hopes that the good work that the students are doing now will pay off in the future.

"One of my hopes is that this seed will lead to a harvest in later years," he said.

Rebecca Burger, 14, a volunteer from Vernon, said, "It feels good helping people because it's not all about yourself."

For many of the students, this was their first time participating in the program. They all plan to continue in community service once the program ends.

Josh Strecker, worksite coordinator for the Greater Hartford Youth Network, said that since last year, the project has grown, increasing participation from 50 to 55 students to 85.

"Jesus loves people in the city too, and we want to show them that by working with them," he said.

Today, the youth network plans to hold a picnic in Waverly Park for city residents that will feature free food, as well as free clothes and free haircuts from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Last year's picnic was a success, Strecker said, he hopes it will be today as well.

"Last year, every single hot dog was gone," he said.

The youth network is composed of about 100 teens from churches from the Hartford area. The churches involved are Wintonbury Baptist, Valley Community Baptist Church in Avon, Trinity Tariffville Church in the Tariffville section of Simsbury, Covenant Presbyterian Church from Simsbury, Christ Community Presbyterian Church from West Hartford and Trinity Covenant Church of Manchester.

This year's sites for The Hartford Project included the Parkville Senior Center, Peter's Retreat, a residential center for AIDS patients, South Park Inn Menu, a homeless shelter, Marshall House, a homeless shelter for women and children and Youth Challenge, a faith-based program that helps people with substance abuse problems.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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