By Valerie Evans
GraceWorks is a week-long program where teenagers from multiple Lutheran churches in and around Columbia get together to serve our community. It is a week filled with worship, learning and most importantly serving. Throughout the week, we got into small groups and ventured out to different agencies to help however they needed our help. We gardened, painted, played games with the elderly, and read to children.
This was my third year being a part of GraceWorks. Every summer I look forward to coming to GraceWorks and seeing the people I met from the previous years. Most teenagers during the summer want to sleep in and watch television all day, but it is nice to give back to our community. It brings me such joy and warmth knowing that I helped out the people in my community that are not as fortunate as I am.
The most memorable part of this experience was seeing the positive impact we had on the people we helped. One of my favorite services I did that week was handing out cold waters to people on the streets. It was a very hot Columbia day. Everyone in my group was sweating and tired, but we kept going because we knew that these people live out in the heat every day. Some of the other services I took part in that week were playing games with the clients at Forest Pines, painting rooms and weeding the gardens at Transitions, and helping the kids at the Autism Academy with creating a fun obstacle course.
Each year we have an overall theme. This year it was “Walk the Way.” At the end of the week we took part in a prayer walk with some of the agencies and then gathered together and worshiped. It was very meaningful. I cannot wait until next year’s GraceWorks!