GATE CITY — Members of the Moore’s Memorial Baptist Church youth group wanted to find a way to give back to their community.
So, the group of 15 or so kids from the Gate City church put their heads together and came up with an idea and submitted it to Youth for America’s Thousand Dollar Thought contest — and won.
Youth for America (YFA) is a religious organization, based in Chattanooga, that works with youth across the country to encourage leadership skills.
YFA holds two Thousand Dollar Thought contests throughout the year, awarding $1,000 to youth groups to use to better their communities. The youth from Moore’s Memorial wanted to use their $1,000 to make some much needed improvements to the Hope House, Scott County’s domestic violence shelter.
Last weekend, folks from YFA came to Gate City and worked side-by-side with the youth to put down new flooring, replace baseboards, paint, upgrade some lighting, refinish the cabinets and some furniture, resurface a concrete walkway leading into the shelter and create a space specifically for children and youth.
“Our mission is to turn students into Christian leaders,” said David Messenger, administrative director of YFA. “Our mission statement is that we want to empower and encourage and equip them to be leaders in their schools and in their communities.”
Messenger says the submission from Moore’s Memorial’s youth stood out because, not only did these kids have an idea, they had a specific plan in mind for how they wanted to implement their idea.
“That really impressed us,” he said.
So, on the evening of Friday, Sept. 18 and for about 13 hours on Saturday, Sept. 19, more than 20 people from YFA and Moore’s Memorial worked to make the Thousand Dollar Thought a reality.
Sharon Cox is a member of Moore’s and helps with the church’s youth group.
“When the kids found out they’d won, they went right to work on what they wanted to do, brainstorming on how they could help and things they could do long term,” she said. “There are too many mission projects right in our own backyard that we often overlook.”
Michelle Hensley is the executive director for the Hope House and says she and her staff were honored that this youth group chose to help their agency.
“This group of young men and women had many wonderful ideas on how to make the shelter feel more like a home for the women and children that come through here. They helped provide a more welcoming environment where domestic violence victims can feel safe and begin healing from the trauma they have experienced. The work that was done is above and beyond our expectations,” Hensley said.
“It was very humbling for us to see this youth group take such a huge interest in our program and take on a leadership role within our community to help others in their time of need. Their efforts will truly make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.”
Hope House Women’s Shelter of Scott County, Inc. is a partnership of the Scott County Crime Prevention Association and other community members. Hope House serves people from Scott, Lee, Wise, Dickenson, Russell and Buchanan Counties and the City of Norton who have been physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually or verbally abused by a boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, husband, ex-husband or same sex partner. Hope House also serves individuals who are homeless or suffer from chronic homelessness.
For more information on the Hope House and its services, call (276) 386-1373 or (888) 250-HEAL (4325).