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Students from nationwide program work in area

By CHELSEA FARNAM
Johnson City Press

Milligan College, TN (July 8, 2009) — This week, about 300 junior high students from churches as far as Missouri and Florida have converged on the Milligan College campus to participate in a series of community service projects.

As part of Christ in Youth’s Know Sweat program, the teens will work in groups, waking up at6:30 a.m. to repair Johnson City homes and volunteer at non-profit organizations such as the Coalition for Kids. In the evening, the groups meet back at Milligan for dinner and a worship service.

“The projects that our groups will be working on this week will consist of home repair or home maintenance for low-income or disabled individuals,” said Ben Hedger, program administrator with Know Sweat service projects. “We’ll also have some groups working with the housing authority … doing a variety of things from landscaping to painting to cleaning up.”

Seventeen students and five adults from Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Ky., got to work Tuesday on a Johnson City home — one of the 20 Know Sweat work sites this week — refinishing the outside of the house and preparing to paint it later in the week.

“I thought it’d be a really fun chance to just help somebody who needed it, and make them feel really good and learn more about God,” said Lauren Taylor, 12, taking a break from scraping paint off the house’s siding.

Know Sweat is one of several week-long Christ in Youth summer programs taking place at Milligan College. When the students leave Friday morning, another group will arrive Monday. Know Sweat has had a partnership with Milligan for the past eight years. The service program also takes place at college campuses in Joplin, Mo.; Cincinnati; Omaha, Neb.; and Denver, among others.

Although college towns are generally not in desperate need of volunteer help, CIY looks for safe and familiar locations to house the students.

“That’s really the main thing we look for — safety and a good place for students to gather,” said Shawn Miyahara, an administrative coordinator for Know Sweat.

While the students work in an unfamiliar community, they learn skills to utilize in their own neighborhoods and towns.

“The goal is that this will be a motivation for them, and hopefully they will continue to serve when they get home in their own ways,” said Emily Snapp, a summer intern with Know Sweat.

Cora Florence, 12, said she has already decided she wants to use the money she would spend on Christmas gifts this year to help someone in need to repair their home.

Johnson City Press Article

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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