SAGINAW — It may be summer vacation, but students participating in Youth Encounter Service (YES) will be answering their alarm clocks bright and early this week. The program sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw allows high school students to learn about and fight poverty, while volunteering and reaching out to the poor as part of a weeklong service camp.
“I look forward to helping our youth learn about the poverty that is experienced both within our own cities, and globally,” said Nicole Bakos, Co-Director of YES. “Our youth participants gain an understanding of Catholic social teaching and their responsibility to reach out to those in need.”
More than 25 young people are signed up to spend five days of their summer vacation, June 20-24, sprucing up yards and making minor repairs to two homes selected in the city of Saginaw. They will even get some help from the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, on Tuesday, June 21.
In addition to mowing lawns, trimming bushes and painting, YES participants will spend part of the week volunteering at various outreach organizations in the community. Evening activities include guest speakers, prayer and reflection on the experiences of the day.
“We’re able to break down the misconceptions about poverty and empower the high school youth to become proactive for change through both prayer and outreach,” said Diane Seidel, Co-Director of YES.
The homes that the teens will work on are located at 620 South 14th Street and 112 South 9th Street in Saginaw. Each day, work will begin on the homes at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 4:45 p.m. The teens are placed in one of several groups that will rotate spending time working on the homes and volunteering in the community. There will also be applications for next year’s home repairs at each of this year’s sites.