by Terry Rogers
Each year, Jerry Guyer, a former dispatcher for the Milford Police Department, welcomes young people from all over the East coast to his Ellendale home where they assist him with different home repairs. Guyer, who is now disabled, says that the young people are a blessing to he and his wife.
“They do a great job and they just make my house more presentable,” Guyer said. “I just can’t do all the things I used to do so what these kids do for me is amazing. They have painted my house and handicap ramp, replaced boards and painted my propane enclosure and shed. This year they did some caulking in the bathroom and painting the handicap ramp to match my siding.”
Each camp has about 220 young people who work from Delaware City south performing different tasks. They work at food banks, repair homes for disabled and elderly people as well as daycares and other organizations. Each week, a different group of students is assigned to different areas. The young people work four days, sometimes on multiple projects during those four days.
“Sometimes we take things for granted,” Meghan Oddy of Flemington, NJ, one of five volunteers who worked on Guyer’s home, said. “I wanted to give back and make someone else’s life better.”
Guyer has lived in his home for 32 years and used to be able to perform the routine maintenance on his own. However, his disability makes it impossible for him to do what the young people do for him each year. He learned of the organization through his social worker and many of the students in the program are out of St. Thomas More in Dover.
Catholic Work Camp began in 1993 in Orlando, Florida, with 100 participants and has grown to more than 13,000. The organization helps youth groups, teens and adult leaders gain leadership skills by restoring homes and hearts. Each Workcamp has a summer staff, director, manager, musician, nurse and priest who celebrates mass and confession. It is a youth-friendly and Christ-centered week of caring for others. After high school, the youth are aged out of the program but once they reach the age of 22, they can become chaperones at the camps.
The organization accepts donations to offset the cost of their mission. Guyer said that anyone who wishes to donate can reach out to him on Facebook or visit www.heartworkcamp.com.
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