Raking, trimming, cutting back encroaching overgrowth, some 40 volunteers from St. Mary’s Project Heart youth group and the Knights of Columbus devoted most of Sunday, Nov. 11, to
cleanup and repairs at a North Salem Road property that had gotten beyond the owners’ ability to handle.
“A great day,” said Brenner LeCompte, leader of Project Heart. “We finished most of the front yard work and good chunk of the back.”
The volunteers included 10 adults and about 30 young people.
“They wanted to help out someone locally, someone in town that was in need,” LeCompte said.
“I think there’s a strong sense of wanting to help out, and there’s not a ton of opportunities — or organized opportunities — for teens to express that generosity. So, Project Heart is giving them that opportunity to lend a hand.”
The kids from Project Heart are students in eighth through 12th grades.
Although based in St. Mary’s, the Project Heart group is open to any teen in the age range.
“Some aren’t even Catholic. I’d say the majority of them are parishioners, but it’s an open group and kind of a wide range,” LeCompte said.
“There’s been a huge interest in service, and that’s how we’ve focused our outreach to the youth in town.”
The group usually meets Sunday evenings from 6 to 8.
Phil Delgiudice of the Knights of Columbus saw that the North Salem Road property was in need of attention.
“He lives not far from the house and we just noticed and we decided to stop and introduce ourselves and ask if there’s anything we could do to help,” LeCompte said.
“They were more than happy to have us help out.”
And they were happy with the results, and grateful to the kids who dedicated a day to helping them.
“The homeowners were so appreciative,” LeCompte said, and “mentioned that you don’t see this type of spirit of service in kids these days.”
There’s still more that could be done on the property, and the St, Mary’s group plans to do it.
“We are going to plan another day to help finish,” LeCompte said.
After that, he says the young people will be looking for other places that might need a helping hand — or maybe 80 of them.
“We’d like for the word to get out so if other people know if there are people in need, they can reach out to us,” LeCompte said.
Anyone with suggestions of where the young people might be helpful may contact LeCompte at his St. Mary’s email address — firstname.lastname@example.org — and he’ll check it out and consider putting it on Project Heart’s to-do list.