Fourteen homes in Oxford and Anniston will get much-needed repairs by the end of July thanks to a religious nonprofit with a longstanding history in Calhoun County.
Janice Scheitlin, site coordinator for the World Changers, said the “All Youth Project” will consist of 175 middle and high school students from across the Southeast. However, they will also be assisted by their parents and about 20 community members.
The group, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, has brought volunteers to Anniston every summer for at least the past decade to work on home repairs for local residents. Many of the participants are school-age kids on summer break.
“Kids can’t come alone so their parents will be there to chaperone,” Scheitlin said. “And every year we have people in the community who want to help.”
Volunteers must have completed sixth grade to participate, “but we’ve had people in their 70s and 80s help out if their health allows it,” Scheitlin said.
The week of July 17 through July 20, volunteers will paint and make the necessary repairs, depending on what the owner said needs to be done to the house.
Scheitlin said a lot of the homeowners who apply for help are older and physically unable to make the repairs themselves.
“We do this for people who can benefit from it and not for people who want to make a profit,” she said.
Scheitlin said homeowners apply for the program at the City Clerk’s Office in Oxford and Anniston in the winter.
The cities also pay for the materials for the repairs.
“We stay out of the financial part of the project,” Scheitlin said. “We just bring the bodies to do the labor and help out.”
There are some limitations that can potentially get in the way for the nonprofit.
“We don’t select two-story homes,” Scheitlin said. “We would want to, but we can’t have a child on the roof because they’re young. But they can paint, work on the deck or porch.”
Scheitlin said the program not only provide help to homeowners, but it’s also a learning experience for the students.
“This helps students learn certain skills, teaches them to be considerate of others and passionate about something,” Scheitlin said. “I hope they will continue to volunteer and help others in the future.”
World Changers will stay at Greenbrier Road Baptist Church for one week. They will head home on July 21. Scheitlin said, the nonprofit will be back in July 2019.