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Teens volunteer to clean up neighborhoods in Baltimore while gaining life skills

KIFI

By Ashley McDowell

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    BALTIMORE (WMAR) — One local veteran will be getting a house completely free this weekend after a group of teens gave their time to renovate it this week. It’s one of many projects going on to beautify Baltimore through the nonprofit Adopt a Block.

200 teens rolled up their sleeves this week and got to work cleaning up neighborhoods in Baltimore and all of them volunteered.

“Look on the bright side, look what you will get out of doing something for someone else,” said Jasmine Banks.

It’s part of Adopt a Block’s program called Compassion Commission. Where teens 11 to 17 give back to the community.

“So we have about 15 groups that are spread throughout the city, that are serving at places like our Daily Bread, the Garden of Eden the Oliver Community Center, Cecil Elementary and they have specific projects that they’re doing there,” said Julie Traut, Adopt a Block Volunteer Coordinator.

Helping paint, clean and organize are some of the other tasks the directors of the facilities have requested. With donations from local businesses the students even become construction workers.

As they pick up a hammer and nails, lugging blocks of wood to renovate a house in East Baltimore. At the end of the week, one unexpecting veteran will be given the home ,free of charge.

“This is the 21st house that we’ll be giving away, we decided to start looking for veterans to bless with homes who have never owned a home before,” said Traut.

It’s the first time 11-year-old Delanie Dougherty has volunteered for something like this. She says it’s her time set aside to do for others.

“This is my calling, I really like doing it cause I can always go to the pool or go to the park whenever I want, but this, I can’t always do it so I’d like to do this,” said Dougherty.

15-year-old Kara Brown has been volunteering since 2018, she said it’s on her bucket list every summer. Stating she continues to be moved seeing life through the eyes of those less fortunate.

“I have learned actually how to communicate with people who don’t really have things or don’t live in the same circumstances as I, so like it gives me a better understanding being able to see what people go through down here,” said Brown.

The volunteers learn to build relationships, responsibility, dedication and the power that their service can bring to the community. Skills they can take with them throughout life.

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