Teens donate summer break to help families in need

EL RENO, Okla.- A group of teenagers from across the state is spending their summer break helping others.

Zack White said, “Just the appreciation they have on their face makes it all worth it.”

Currently, there are about 150 kids from all over Oklahoma that are working on 38 different projects for deserving families.

One such project is Jacki Carpenter’s house.

She is a pillar in the community, putting in as many hours as she can at the El Reno Community Action Agency to help families less fortunate than hers.

While she spends much of her time helping others, she says sometimes she needs a little help herself.

Carpenter said, “I was diagnosed with cancer in November and right now I’m doing chemo and radiation, which makes you really, really tired.”

Volunteers are building a new ramp leading up to her house and putting on a fresh coat of paint.

It’s a simple facelift for the outside of the house but it has an even greater effect on her spirits.

Carpenter said, “It’s awesome. It’s like that show on TV where the people walk in and they go ‘oh.’ I kinda know how they feel now.”

The First Christian Church in El Reno works with other churches and kids across the state to help people in need.

All the materials are supplied by outside organizations.

After getting the necessary equipment, group leaders have an even harder job;  finding people who are willing to donate their time.

Tara Drew, with First Christian Church, said, “High school students who are giving up a week of their summer. It’s been amazing, the work that’s been done here this week.”

The program is helping to spruce up the neighborhood but also providing a bit of pride for the volunteers.

Elizabeth Jensen said, “Every time I drive down this street I’ll get to see what we did and how we made an impact on someone’s life.”

For more information on the program, visit the First Christian Church of El Reno’s website.