September 2, 2011

Youth volunteer effort assists Brown County residents

Teenagers and youth ministry leaders from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, and St. Ann, St. Benedict and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Terre Haute spent three days in early August assisting people in need in Brown County. (Submitted photo)

Teenagers and youth ministry leaders from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, and St. Ann, St. Benedict and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Terre Haute spent three days in early August assisting people in need in Brown County. (Submitted photo)

Special to The Criterion

BROWN COUNTY—At the beginning of August, a group of nine teenagers from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville, and 11 teenagers from St. Ann, St. Benedict and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Terre Haute came together with 16 youth ministry leaders to help people in need in Brown County.

Indiana Nazareth Farm is an annual service camp sponsored by St. Agnes Parish and the three Terre Haute parishes. It is based on four cornerstones—community, prayer, simplicity and service.

Each teenager and adult leader provided more than 28 hours of intensive hard labor in just three and a half days, equaling 1,008 hours of volunteer service. Team leaders were youth ministry coordinator Adrianne Spahr from St. Agnes Parish and Janet Roth, the youth ministry leader at the three Terre Haute parishes.

This year, the youths and their leaders reached out to the Brown County community, and provided their spiritual and physical strength to make the lives of some Brown County residents easier.

In one case, a huge roof was built along the side of a trailer to provide a shady place for the family who lives there, especially for one member who uses a wheelchair, so he can sit outside under shelter. The roof took three days to construct, and significantly increases the space used by the family.

Another project involved building steps into a greenhouse attached to the home of an elderly couple. The greenhouse is an important part of their home because they use it to grow vegetables and flowers.

In addition, the volunteers stained a large deck attached to the house to preserve the surface.

Other projects included laying railroad ties to create a water runoff system, mowing, washing windows, cleaning gutters, moving dirt and weeding yards.

Although the volunteers spent many hours working, the youths and adult leaders set aside time for prayer and reflection every morning and evening as a group.

The original Nazareth Farm was formed as an association of the Catholic Church, and is located in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia. Its purpose is to organize volunteer service to help the people of Appalachia.

In 1994, the program was started in Brown County by youth leaders in Nashville and Terre Haute.

As in years past, the youths came away from the experience exhausted but energized, and looking forward to participating again.

Brown County residents who need assistance are encouraged to keep this outreach in mind when they have repairs that can wait until next summer.

The project is held annually at the beginning of August. †

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