Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

World Changers, a Southern Baptist home repair ministry, has spent the week in Macon County taking on two dozen projects around  town.

“We have a group of teens in Macon County this week volunteering with World Changers,” Commissioner Ronnie Beale told his fellow commissioners last week. “These kids will be doing great work for our residents and I encourage you to go out and visit with them if you can. It’s a great program that has been helping Maconians for decades.”

The program, which assists low-income, disabled, and elderly families, has been coming to Macon County for 21 years. The program brings teens from all over the southeast to Macon County to spend the week volunteering. The teens bunk at Macon Middle School and complete projects ranging from roof repairs, to building decks, to painting homes.

Nearly 200 students from 12 different churches spent the week in Macon County, with one church group coming from as far away as Cross City, Fla. Funding for the projects throughout Macon County comes from Habitat for Humanity, private donations, some corporate donations, and the town of Wentworth. The students are split up into 27 crews at 24 worksites around the county.

Out of the 24 projects, 16 consisted of building porches, decks and handicapped ramps. While the majority of the projects were in the Franklin area, they also worked in Coweeta Lake Circle in Otto and Dendy Orchard Road in Highlands on reroofing projects. The group built a small laundry room at a home on Wilkie Street; pressure washed and painted at a home on Bradley Creek; and repaired some handrails at a home on Town Mountain Drive.

World Changers is an initiative of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., and is in its 27th summer partnering with cities to serve residents. This year, more than 10,000 students and adult volunteers will be working in more than 50 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Students traveling with their churches and youth groups pay on average $280 to participate in the mission. Since 1990, more than 300,000 volunteers have participated in the program.

The properties selected for work by the World Changers is selected by the Macon County Housing Department based on income and the type of work needed. The World Changers are only in town for a week, so the projects have to be able to be completed within that time frame.