By Chris Shoemaker
Dozens of youth from Baptist churches across Virginia converging on the campus of Bluefield College this summer made a difference in the lives of families in southwest Virginia.
Impact Virginia, a project sponsored by the Baptist General Association of Virginia, is a one-week mission opportunity for youth in grades 7-12 that focuses on home repair for low-income families and spiritual growth for teens and the people they serve. While the youth participating in southwest Virginia spent the early mornings and evenings each day in Bible study and worship at Bluefield College, they spent the bulk of their daily time in the community, renovating homes in Tazewell County.
The youth worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, stopping only for lunch, provided by local churches which joined the cause. They invested hundreds of hours of labor and thousands of dollars in materials, most of which was provided to Bluefield College and the Impact teams by local contractors, home improvement centers and other donors.
“It is remarkable to think about the impact we’ve been able to have in this community over the years,” said Bluefield’s David Taylor, vice president for student services, about the college’s participation in Impact Virginia since 2009. “We have made dwellings warmer, safer and dryer for needy homeowners.”
Impact Virginia hosted projects in three other Virginia locations this summer — Danville, Fluvanna and Alexandria — and an Impact International camp in Romania as well.