Teens lend helping hand in summer heat - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Teens lend helping hand in summer heat

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DAHLGREN -- Instead of spending their summer break relaxing, a group of teens descended on the McLeansboro area to lend a helping hand and spread the word of God.

18-year old Ashtyn Cowling says she prefers doing mission work to a typical summer vacation.  

"It's just so much more rewarding and I think God has done so much for me in my life that I just deserve to give him so much more back, and this is just a way that I can help serve god and serve others," she said.

This week, through a program with World Changers, she and nearly 150 other teens have spent the week painting, drilling, and sawing in the name of God and helping others.

The teens are working on 13 projects this week, including one in Dahlgren fixing up houses for residents who cant afford to or are physically unable to do the work themselves.

Kenny Owens is participating in the program through his church group from St. Louis.

"It changes my whole view on life," he said. "I come from a very privileged family."

Owens says the experiences he's had are eye opening.

"It's absolutely awe inspiring," he said. "It's so great. I've seen people cry. Cold people who used to not be there, who used to not feel it, I'd see them and they're smiling and they're happy and they're talking with us. It's a great experience to see. Their life is totally changed."

And for the teens spending their summer breaks working in the heat, the response they get from those they help is what inspires them to keep going.

"It's really great to see their reaction and see how grateful they are," said Kara Steel. "It kind of makes us know that it's all worth it."

And Cowling, who's done mission work with World Changers for six years, says she's gotten as much out of the work as the people she's helping.

"I've seen lives changed and I've seen personal growth in myself," she said.

The World Changers program in the McLeansboro area is expected to wrap up tomorrow. 

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