NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Public schools in Nashville will be a bit cleaner this fall thanks to thousands of Acteens who went around the Tennessee capital July 31 lending a helping hand.
Some 6,500 Acteens took part in a community service project by picking up trash, unpacking boxes and participating in other chores at more than 65 city public schools. The Acteens also filled 3,000 backpacks with school supplies that will be given to elementary students who come from needy families. Additionally, the teens donated boxes filled with school supplies to Mississippi River Ministries and the Nashville Baptist Association to assist them in future outreach to the schools.
The community project was part of the National Acteens Convention, which brought teenage girls from several countries and more than 30 states to Nashville.
Providentially, heavy rains that had hit the city during morning rush hour stopped just prior to the project’s start.
“Those girls are wonderful,” one excited teacher at Lockeland Elementary School said to another as the teens worked around them. “They have unpacked my room. They are so good.”
The Acteens began outside, picking up trash and debris that had collected over the months. On one occasion, they found a deceased critter.
“We got a [dead] bird,” Jessica Joslin of Ephesus Baptist Church in Spring Hope, N.C., reported. Her group made sure it was thrown away.
Joe Vaughn, a kindergarten teacher at Lockeland, appreciated the assistance.
“That’s a big help to get [the school] ready for our children. A lot of trash had been left out there,” said Vaughn, who later received help organizing his room.
Following trash pick-up, the teens gathered in the school gym, waiting for an assignment.
“I need 22 window-wipers!” shouted one of the group leaders, Linda Sutton of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C. Soon, 22 Acteens were on the task, cleaning windows.
The teens also cleaned bookshelves and bathrooms and moved equipment. Each of them signed a banner that read, “Teachers make a world of difference. Thank you!”
A number of the Acteens had previous missions involvement and had opportunity to share their enthusiasm with other NAC participants. “I love it. I’ve done it before,” Joslin said.
The project was an extension from the previous day, when Acteens gathered at the Tennessee state capitol to pray for the city, the nation and the world.
“[W]e put feet to our prayers by going into the public schools and doing community service projects in whatever capacity they [needed] us,” said Kristy Carr, volunteer specialist for Woman’s Missionary Union and chair of National Acteens Convention ministries. WMU sponsors Acteens.
“… [We] hope and pray that through our example a door will open for the local associations and churches to carry on [the] work.”
With reporting by Erin Curry.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: TACKLING THE TRASH, A POSITIVE WORD and WORK-RELATED ACTEENS.