Spending Summer Break Picking Weeds and Cleaning?

Article Written by Luna Stephens. Photography by Malka Hampton

10 youth did just that during the second week of Summer of Service, June 13 through 17, while also getting a chance to learn about two local service sites, the Ballard Center and Penn House.

The projects at both sites included gardening, as well as some indoor renovation work at Penn House.

“I definitely learned hard work,” Chloe Board said. “We’ve been working really hard, and I’ve also learned that I really like picking weeds.”

Board said she lives just down the street from Ballard and has volunteered there a few times before. However, most of the volunteers, and even the project leader Bruce Eggers, had not known much about either organization prior to the project.

“ I’ve lived in Lawrence since 1993 and I’ve never been to the Ballard Center,” Eggers said. “I didn’t know what it did until I read the website and signed up for this.”

Despite going into it with little knowledge, while working at the sites everyone involved was able to learn a lot.

“I wanted to see what they did and I thought that volunteering might be a good way to see that,” Julia Myers said.

The youth have shown their curiosity and also their work ethic, coming out every day to work hard.

“It’s hard work but it’s satisfying in the end,” Anna Peard said.  

Teens often get labeled as lazy and selfish, so it’s refreshing to see these youth so excited to get out into the community and working.

“When I was a kid there’s no way I ever would have done any of this,” Eggers said. “I was only thinking about myself and what I wanted to do for fun.”

During a time with a lot of down time, Summer of Service projects like this week’s offer a rewarding chance to give back and gain knowledge.

“It’s really fun and it’s way more fun than just sitting at home being bored” Katie Baldwin-Faling said.