Major Mission Project Helps Erie Residents - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Major Mission Project Helps Erie Residents

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Home improvement projects and repairs can cost thousands of dollars, but this week teens from around the country are in Erie, doing that work for free.

The group of teens from states across the nation had never met before this week.

"We've got some group leaders from Nebraska and we got a kid from Pennsylvania and another one from Delaware," said volunteer Andrew Bean, who came with his youth group from Glen Ellys, Illinois. 

Now, they're working together to build a better life for Janette Wood.

Her mother Maggie D'Aurora looked on as they constructed a ramp for her daughter, who is now bound to a wheelchair.

"My daughter... has five children, it's very difficult, it's a muscle disease where she can't walk, sometimes she cant see, she can't swallow, she can hardly breathe sometimes."

The family is one of more than 50 in Erie getting a hand from the group of 400 high schoolers who traveled to Erie as part of the "Group Work Camps Foundation". The organization sends youth groups all over America to do home improvement projects for residents in need.

The teens showed some pretty good handiwork, and looking at it you'd never know a bunch of teenagers built it in just a few days. How did they do it? It took a lot of quick learning, and faith.

"Before the kids leave they fill out a sheet on who I am and what I know how to do," said Erie Work Camp Coordinator JoAnn Jeska. "Some kids didn't know which end of the hammer to hold before they got here and so they've learned some skills from the other people they're working with."

"Faith plays a lot, because a lot of us don't know what we're doing," said volunteer Amber Robbs from Springfield, Illinois. "I've never built a deck before, but God definitely helps you get to where you are."

For Maggie D'Aurora, the fruit of their labor is giving her daughter new freedom.

"We needed the ramp to... really, you know, give her a quality of life," she said. "My daughter cried because it was very emotional."

An Erie youth group will be paying it forward later this month. They'll head to Bell, West Virginia, to help residents in need through the same program.

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