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Local youth groups serve community

With serving the community and spreading God's love at the forefront of their minds, two local youth groups sacrificed their time to make a difference within the community by assisting with the beautification process for the recently established Hope Movement house.

The youth groups from St. Mary of the Springs Catholic Church and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church convened on Sept. 20 at the Hope Movement house, 302 Lary St., to work on cleaning up the front entrance of the house. Students pulled weeds, moved brush and tidied up around the property the house sits on.

Sally Pierce, youth director at St. Mary's, began her job educating the younger part of the congregation nearly a year ago. Since then, she has been working to not only increase participation among the church youth, but to increase the impact the youth group has in the community.

St. Mary of the Springs funded one of the rooms inside the Hope Movement house and while touring the facility Pierce noticed the front garden beds were in shambles. This inspired her to reach out to Mike Johns, a deacon at St. John's, and solicit the help of his rapidly growing youth group.

"I want to unite our two parishes and create some camaraderie. Plus, the more hands the lighter the work," Pierce said.

A total of 71 students participated in the service project. The group from St. Mary's worked for about three hours with 11 students, and 60 students and a handful of parents from St. John's spent roughly two hours working.

"I had to reach out to parents to help deal with the transportation issue we encountered and they ended up staying to help out. We got a lot more work done than anyone ever expected," Johns said.

The Hope Movement was created to help women in Hot Springs who are recovering from drug addiction but often find themselves struggling even after successfully completing rehabilitation programs. The faith-based, nonprofit organization allows women to stay for up to a year while working on their personal recovery journey.

The organization's mission is to help women move forward from a lifestyle of addiction and become devoted followers of Christ. They take in women who have previously completed some type of drug rehabilitation program, who are looking to further their recovery journey with faith-based guidance. The home offers women a safe living environment, gainful employment, life skills training and Christ-centered counsel.

Desiree Skeya, executive director of the Hope Movement, said she feels blessed to have such overwhelming support from the younger members of the community.

"They did all this work and made the front of the house look as beautiful as the inside. These kids came and served as the hands and feet of Jesus," Skeya said.

Local on 10/11/2017

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