STAFFORD, Va. (WUSA9) — Nearly 1,000 teens in the DMV are spending their beloved summer vacation volunteering and helping out those in need.
The teens, from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, are doing everything from building a wheelchair ramp for an Iraqi war veteran, to renovating homes for those less fortunate.
Most of these teens expected to change the lives of others. But they didn’t expect their own lives to change as well.
On Wednesday, they worked on the wheelchair ramp for Tony Jason’s home.
“It means a whole lot,” he said. “I couldn’t do it if I had to do it myself.”
He needed the ramp installed for his wife, who struggles to walk up and down the stairs. But he couldn’t afford it.
These teens aren’t just installing the ramp though — they’re paying for it too. Each raised $450 to cover the costs.
“She’ll be able to wheel right to the car now and get in the car,” he said. “And I’ll be able to drive her wherever we have to go.”
The teens are part of a project called WorkCamp, a youth ministry with the Arlington Diocese.
“I’m just amazed at this community,” one teen said. “And how everyone wants to work together to make someone who’s a little less fortunate than ourselves, to give something back to them.”
The students took classes during the year to prepare for the volunteer projects.
“Personally, I believe that one of the many pillars that Christianity is founding on is giving back to those less fortunate,” another said. “And I think this is just the pinnacle of that.”
The Jason’s ramp should be finished by Thursday.
There are more than 100 projects similar to this one. According to the Labor Department, the overall volunteer rate in 2015 was higher among teenagers than even adults.