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World Changers work to change Huntington for the better

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Mitchell Karley of World Changers works on a wheelchair ramp at the Barnes residence in Huntington.

The sounds of construction and home repair could be heard throughout Huntington last week while members of the Christian organization World Changers volunteered at 14 different worksites throughout the city.

The crews worked on several different projects at homes throughout Huntington such as building wheelchair ramps, painting, building decks, replacing roofing and other home improvement needs.

The volunteers, who took up lodging in Huntington High School at night, consisted of 139 students and adults from 10 different churches from Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

One of the Huntington homes that World Changers worked on during the week belonged to Isabell Barnes, whose mother is in a wheelchair. Barnes said that she has been trying to have a wheelchair ramp built at her house for years and that World Changers is an answered prayer.

“It’s a blessing,” Barnes said. “I tell everyone that when you allow God to be first in your life, he will answer your prayers.”

Not only do homeowners benefit from volunteer groups such as World Changers, but the community as a whole is positively impacted as well.

“It just lets other people know that there are programs out there that they can get onto, they just have to talk to the city of Huntington,” Barnes said.

World Changers communications specialist Madison Cleveland, who is from a church in Missouri, said that traveling to other areas not only gives volunteers a chance to learn about others, but also allows them to witness to the members of the community.

“It’s really important to be able to make an impact on the community, to meet the physical needs, but also to come in and share the gospel and to meet spiritual needs as well,” Cleveland said. “By going into different communities that we’re not originally from our eyes are opened to different lifestyles and to different needs.”

Greg Vititoe, who is from Louisville Kentucky, was the crew chief for the Barnes project and said that the students show their passion by spending their own money to travel and to be a part of the work crews.

“The kids come and spend their own money to get here because they really want to be here and to do this,” Vititoe said. “It’s because they’re not here for themselves. They’re here for the community, for the people of the community and for Jesus Christ. They are here to serve Him and we serve others because He died for us, and we’re compelled by the love of Christ to love others.”

Huntington was just one of the many cities that World Changers is working in this summer. Over 12,000 volunteers with the group are working in 51 cities throughout the U.S. this year.

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