Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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Page 49 of 55

50 The smile on a small child's face, the heartfelt thank you from hungry peo- ple receiving a hot meal, sometimes even a request for prayer — this is what keeps 17-year-old Tori Grant serv- ing her community. She does so through the Riot, the youth outreach min- istry for middle and high schoolers at The Bridge church. Miss Grant has attended the Riot for the past eight years. During that time, she has done various community service projects through the youth group. "I have gone out into our community and helped clean up Herman Park," she said. "A few years ago, we laid down new bedding for the trees there, picked up litter and cleaned up in the yellow house. We tried to make it like it was more of a nature place and really homey." One Sunday afternoon, Miss Grant and the youth group helped serve hot dogs at the Fordham House. The group also gave out warm clothes that had been donated by church members. "I got to connect with the people who came, young infants to elderly people," she said. "Being able to touch people from all age groups really puts a lasting impression on us, and on them." And this past winter, Miss Grant traveled with other youths in the church to Gatlin- burg, Tennessee, to help restore a church's grounds there. "I'm not sure what had happened there, but there was just debris everywhere on the yards of the church," she said. "We went in and swept the gravel back to where it was supposed to be, picked up litter around the parking lot and cleaned the grounds. "We got to talk to the people who work at the church. It was great to do something for someone who we really didn't know. They were so far away from us." And that's just a small part of what the Riot members do. "During December, the youth ministry took up a collection of blankets for the homeless in Goldsboro," said student pastor James Martin. He said a lot of the teens jumped in when Hurricane Matthew came, collecting cleaning supplies and gift cards for those affected by the storm. "We set up a bunch of tables right after the hurricane and did a big hot dog feeding for the command center people and people who had come into town to help," Martin said. "We did that for a couple of days." For the near future, Martin is coordinating a project where the youths can be part of building a home for Habitat for Humanity and also work in the organization's Restore. A lot of the teens' community serv- ice projects happen outside regular church hours. Not only do the youths of the church go out into their com- munity and help anyone they can, they also serve within the four walls of the church. Miss Grant serves milk- shakes on Sunday mornings to middle schoolers coming to the church. And she's also a greeter. "A lot of our students serve within the four walls of the church," Martin said. "There's a lot of different ways they can get involved." But being in the youth outreach ministry Serving others gives YOUTHS a leg up on life Gavin Russell plays with children during a mission trip to Jalacte, Belize. Youth ministries reach beyond church walls, and sometimes beyond borders, to make a difference in the lives of young people at home and abroad. Story by BECKY BARCLAY Photos submitted See YOUTHS, Page 52

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