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Teen volunteers working to repair central Ohio homes

GROVE CITY, OH (WCMH) -- For 15-year-old Spencer Wolfe, using power tools to rebuild a front porch is an all-new experience. Wolfe is one of close to 100 volunteers working on home repair projects in Central Ohio this week through a faith-based group called Ohio Changers.

The effort was organized by members of the First Baptist Church of Grove City and the First Baptist Church of West Jefferson. For many years, the churches have been sending volunteers on mission trips to Kentucky with a group called Kentucky Changers.

This is the first year for Ohio Changers. About half of the volunteers are teenagers.

The others are adults, like Matt Stickel, who's been going on mission trips for more than 20 years.

"Really everybody gets changed through it, especially the kids," Stickel said. "We're writing on their permanent memories. They're getting to serve somebody and there's no better feeling, no better joy, everybody wins."

The volunteers are doing painting, carpentry, roofing and other jobs for homeowners who can't afford to make the repairs on their own. The homeowners pay what they can afford toward the materials.

Spencer Wolfe says he's learning he's capable of doing things he never realized he could do. He says it's humbling to be able to do something for someone who has asked for help.

Homeowner Pauline Barnett says she's had to put medical and food bills ahead of home repairs in recent years. She had hoped the crew could paint her back porch. But when they arrived they offered to also replace her garage roof and to build a shed. "It just overwhelms me," Barnett said. "I've never asked for help before and this is just awesome."

The Ohio Changers hope to build on this summer's experience by increasing the number of volunteers next year and the years ahead.


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