HENDERSON, Ky. — Storms may have washed out a few of the home improvement projects planned by the World Changers volunteer group on their last day in Henderson, but it didn’t come close to dampening their spirits.
The group of 192 people that visited Henderson last week from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Virginia were still focused on making connections and community service. The World Changers organization is faith-based, with a mission to help people in need with exterior home repairs, maintenance and upgrades.
“We want to impact communities and show them Jesus’ love,” said Forrest Parker, 21, one of the group’s organizers. “It’s all about making those connections and community service.”
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The Henderson City Board of Commissioners passed a proclamation declaring it “World Changers Week.” The group had volunteered in Henderson in the past, but not since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are other World Changers chapters across the country. The one that visited Henderson moved on to Radcliff, Kentucky, this week, then Huntington, West Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia and New Jersey at the end of its two-month summer mission.
Most of the volunteers are school age, with some youth ministers and parents accompanying them. The group was based at Hyland Baptist Church for the week and worked on 17 different projects, 16 of those residential.
On Friday, two groups were at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Green River Road, painting walls and sprucing up the church’s entryway. Lilly Reynolds, 13, and Abbey Harris, 15, are both from Sylvester, Georgia and had been helping by cleaning carpets and taping off areas for paint prep.
“It makes you feel good to help somebody in need,” Harris said. “If we are doing stuff like this, that means the church’s money can go toward something else, like a food pantry or some other outreach.”
Reynolds said she wanted to spread the word about the church in the neighborhood.
“It’s such a nice, old church building but I think the congregation is pretty small,” she said. “We just want people to know that it’s here and help some people who might be struggling to do these repairs for themselves.”
Parker said crews of 10-12 people each had been working at each of the various sites all week, with the student volunteers mostly doing things like power washing and yard work. Some of the more ambitious work included building decks and wheelchair ramps, replacing exterior siding and even small roofing jobs.
“We talked to somebody who had been waiting four or five years for new siding on their home but they hadn’t been able to afford it,” Parker said. “It’s been great getting to help out these people and seeing the gratitude on their faces.”
But it’s not only the work that is the World Changers goal, Parker said, it’s letting people know that someone cares about them.
“Some of these lower-income neighborhoods, people just drive right by them, you know?” he said. “They just pass it by. We want people in these places to know that even though their areas might be overlooked, we care about them and want to give them hope by showing the love of Jesus.”