May 11, 2024

By Marinda McKenzie-Cummings

Nearly 145 tweens and teens across Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Harrisonville, and Belton came together for three service projects in honor of Global Youth Service Day, April 27th. Youth cleaned up Blue Parkway and a local stream or assembled bags for the unhoused community.

Photo by Heather Wimmer Youth volunteered with support from MODOT to clean up Blue Parkway in honor of Global Youth Service Day

For the Blue Parkway cleanup, participants from Martin Luther Lutheran Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met for a prayer first, grabbed gloves, vests and trash bags, and then drove or walked to locations along Blue Parkway and Hwy 50 in Lee’s Summit between Church St. and Ward Rd.

Photo by Heather Wimmer Volunteer youth work together to clean up Blue Parkway in honor of Global Youth Service Day

Volunteers spent about an hour picking up trash and bagging it in yellow No MO Trash bags, provided by MODOT and then went back for some hot dogs and relaxing together before they went home. Youth could also get service hours documented for graduation or other requirements at this event.

“We can see this growing to 10 or more churches celebrating Global Youth Service Day by helping keep the roads around Lee’s Summit clean,” said Sonja Kofoed, Communications Leader, the Church of Jesus Christ.

Photo by Kathy Hirschi Youth from multiple Christian congregations assembled care bags for unhoused members of the community in honor of Global Youth Service Day

Those youth who assembled bags for the unhoused population, gathered from three different congregations of Life Quest Church and the Church of Jesus Christ. They started their day with prayer and singing hymns. After discussion of specific needs of the homeless, the group created approximately 200 bags of items including combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, meal bars, water, shampoo, laundry, pods, soap, and wash cloths.

Youth were encouraged to take one or two bags, with safety in mind and parental permission, to hand out the bags when they see someone in need, knowing that this small gift, along with a smile and conversation, could help someone out. Life Quest Church took any extra bags for H2O, their organization to support the homeless.

“I can only imagine what young leaders like this can do for the world as they continue to find a need, and serve others, said Shauna Barker, Communications Leader, the Church of Jesus Christ.

Photo by Lisa Azimi Trash and debris removed from a local Lee’s Summit stream by youth volunteers

The third project involved a group of 22 youth volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ who cleaned up a local stream as part of Sweep the Summit Month in Lee’s Summit. They spent two hours clearing debris, trash, and other waste to beautify the area.

Global Youth Service day is sponsored by Youth Service America. Volunteers also worked with representatives from Just Serve, a free service that connects community needs with volunteers through a website to promote and improve quality of life in communities.

For more information on Global Youth Service Day or Just Serve, visit the following websites: justserve.org and ysa.org/campaigns/gysd.

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