Nationwide students changing world

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 2, 2002

COURTNEY LANGE The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Alberta Perkins is getting an early Birthday present this year.

Perkins, who will turn 78 next week, is having her house of 50 years renovated by a group of students who care.

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The students are a part of World Changers, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This year, more than 73,000 junior high, high school and college students will participate in one of 98 world changing volunteer projects both in the United States and abroad.

This week, 73 of those students are in Natchez.

The Natchez &uot;crews&uot; are working hard to make a difference by making renovations on area houses.

Worksites are chosen by the resident’s inability to pay for the needed improvements or because of the physical limitations of the homeowner.

&uot;I wasn’t able to fix what needs fixing in my house,&uot; Perkins said. &uot;I sure am glad these kids are willing to lend a helping hand.&uot;

Crewmember Crystal May has participated for two years with World Changers.

Crystal, along with other members of First Baptist Church of Sorrento, Fla., paid $300 each to spend a week of their summer vacation working for free on the home of someone they don’t even know.

&uot;To some people, what we do doesn’t make sense,&uot; said 16-year-old May, &uot;but to me the pay-off is the joy that comes from knowing that I am helping someone in need.&uot;

A crew of one adult and about eight motivated students are de-shingling and rolling tar onto Perkins’ roof.

They are also painting, repairing a leak in the ceiling of her den and replacing the sheetrock in one of the home’s bedrooms.

&uot;This kind of experience is really an eye-opener for the kids,&uot; said crew chief Randy Dees. &uot;It gives them (the children) an opportunity to minister to the needs of others and to learn that it is possible to make a difference.&uot;