Volunteers to Descend on Navajo Reservation to Repair Homes
July 13, 2010
BLANDING, Utah - July 12, 2010 — More than 250 Christian volunteers will descend on the Navajo Reservation Monday for a week-long summer camp.
This is no ordinary camp, though participants will spend time outdoors learning valuable skills. No merit badges here – just personal growth and the honor of serving people in need.
Youth volunteers from across the United States are participating in a massive volunteer effort, July 12-July 16, performing home repairs for residents of the Navajo Reservation. The program, now in its 11th year, is sponsored by the state Division of Housing & Community Development together with the national Group Workcamps Foundation.
An estimated 250 volunteers will travel to Utah for the experience at their own expense. They’ll log more than 10,000 hours on 35 homes, performing home improvement projects including: building wheelchair ramps, replacing roofs, painting, repairing walls and siding and constructing decks, porches and steps.
“These kids spend all year fundraising and preparing for this trip. When they get there they practically work non-stop. I’m not sure which is more gratifying, seeing the smiles on their faces or the smiles of the home owners we’ve helped,” said Mike Johnson, manager of Utah’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
The Weatherization Program was created in 1976 by the U.S. Department of Energy in response to the national energy crisis. The program pays for home improvements aimed at helping low-income households reduce their energy consumption.
“The repairs we do help home owners maintain their homes, save money on utilities and live more comfortably,” said Gordon Walker, Director, Division of Housing and Community Development.
“We nearly always have a waiting list for services,” Walker said. “Partnering with Group Workcamps and the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments helps us leverage our weatherization dollars.”
Other sponsors include the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, The HEAT program which is providing a truck load of wood for every resident and the American Express Center for Community Development which donated $20,000 for materials and non-perishable food boxes for residents.
Utah’s Weatherization Assistance Program is managed by the Division of Housing and Community Development under the Utah Department of Community and Culture. The Group Workcamps Foundation, based in Loveland, Colo. was created in 1976. The non-profit organizes dozens of domestic and international service “missions” annually for youth church groups. For more information, visit: www.groupworkcamps.com