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Donna Hartley was pleasantly surprised when she opened the door to her office Monday morning. Hartley, executive director of Kershaw Area Resource Exchange (KARE), said there were three checks targeted for Youth Serve.
Youth Serve is a program that recruits teenagers to help repair area homes for the needy and elderly, who are unable to do the repairs themselves.
Youth Serve is a part of KARE, which provides an array of services to people in the southern portion of Lancaster County.
Right now Youth Serve needs help. The program is $6,000 under budget and that funding is needed to continue with the repairs. We shared Youth Serve’s plight with readers in our July 17 edition of The Lancaster News.
The urgent need prompted a local business to initiate an effort to raise the much-needed money and challenge the community to help with that effort.
KershawHealth in Camden will give up to $3,000 if there are other donations that equal that amount. KershawHealth has two clinics in Lancaster County.
Joseph Bruce, a marketing official with KershawHealth, shared the urgency of action at an early-morning meeting at the old Kershaw Train Depot on July 15.
“The clock is ticking,” Bruce said at the meeting. “If you and the people you know can make contributions, we will match every one of them. It’s such a great thing to do – we have to do this.”
Youth Serve is the brainchild of Beverly Timmons, a community activist in Kershaw. That was 17 years ago.
The purpose of Youth Serve is to engage young people in meaningful activity that focuses on service to meet the needs of indigent families and individuals, and assist their community as a whole, Hartley said.
The program’s goal is to provide an opportunity in a long-term time frame for young people to grow and develop into skilled young adults, with strong moral character and a vision for serving others and help lead other projects that improve the quality of life for their community.
In 2010, Youth Serve had 94 young people working with adults for two weeks. They completed 21 home repair projects that included fixing windows, doors, painting and roofing.
Hartley thanked Bruce and other business representatives at the meeting.
“I thank you for giving your time to be aware of what’s going on in the community,” she said.
The program is vital because it allows teens to build character and learn skills while assisting the vulnerable population, she added.
Youth Serve is open to teenagers, ages 13-18. About 50 teens participated in the June session of repairs. There was another session this past week. Each summer Youth Serve helps repair about 25 homes in the community.
While Hartley is grateful for the donations, more is needed to keep and sustain the program.
If you would like to make a donation or for more information, call KARE at (803) 475-4173 or visit www.kershawkare.org.
It’s a win-win situation – for everyone involved.