Teens work hard for community

22:30, Dec 23 2013
Serve72 campers, from left, Caleb Griffiths, 15, Cameron Brooks, 19, Liv Bishop, 14, Laurie Duncan, 13, Shanon Arbuckle, 13.

A team of 13 Blenheim teenagers gave up three days of their holiday last week to strip down and repaint the house of complete strangers.

The teens undertook the work while on the Serve72 holiday camp hosted by the Marlborough Community Development Trust from Wednesday to Saturday.

Event organiser Paul Humphreys said the purpose of the camp was to teach the group about helping others in a relevant and measurable way.

Sosaia Mesui, 16
Sosaia Mesui, 16

"This family has had a difficult time with a long-term illness in the family and this way we can help them get something done they just cannot do themselves at the moment," he said.

The group stayed at Omaka Marae and spent three days prepping and repainting the house in Budge St.

Mr Humphreys hoped to create a sense of community among the teenagers involved in the project and the family they are helping.


Laurie Duncan, 13 and Benjamin Murray, 14

"We hope to show children that helping others is not simply about a hand out, instead getting to know those in need in your community and helping in a life-changing way," Mr Humphreys said.

Volunteer Laurie Duncan, 13, said this was the first time she had ever done anything like this.

"I have never stripped off paint before or repainted a house, it is very hard work, but I might one day show my husband how to do it," she said.

Trent Burbidge, 16, said he knew it would be hard work, but liked the idea of helping someone else.

Mr Humphreys hoped to grow the project to a national level and bring groups from throughout New Zealand to stay at the marae and take on projects in the region.

Four more projects are planned for next year, and there has already been interest from groups in Nelson and Christchurch.

"You could tell a homeless person that God saves, but they will still be homeless and hungry.

"But if you give them a meal and a coat, then talk to them about him they may actually believe you," Mr Humphreys said.

"It is all about taking action in helping our community."