Written by Barb Powell
As Devon Carrow talked to 102-year-old Dr. Eva Goble, she thought about how wonderful it is to enjoy a long life to its fullest.
Carrow, from Wentz’s United Church of Christ in Worcester, Pa., was among the dozens of youth volunteering at 20 West Lafayette, Ind. area agencies during the United Church of Christ’s National Youth Event (NYE). Goble is a resident at University Place, a senior living community. She spoke to the teens about her life experiences, including a teaching career begun in a small country school and culminating as a dean at Purdue University. Though Goble’s descriptions of 20th-century life were no match for what she learned about iPads and email, Carrow and her friends who visited Goble believe that, perhaps, life may have become a bit too fast.
Goble grew up and worked "in such a simpler time," said Emily Welt, from Central Congregational UCC in Providence, R.I. "They didn’t have the complications from technology."
Downstairs, as Emily Fitts from Central Congregational UCC in Providence, R.I., was painting nails with resident Barbara Etzel, Ezra Rice, also from Central Congregational UCC, was swapping stories with Wade Shafer. Shafer’s book, 'Just Call Me ‘Colonel,' chronicles his life from the family farm in Indiana, through his education at West Point and colorful military service, to his devotion to family. Ezra remarked to Shaffer, "If my life is half as successful as yours, I’ll be very happy."
The National Youth Event Service Projects offer the teens an opportunity to put faith into practice, as they learned first-hand about community needs and the power of working with friends and neighbors to fix, beautify, clean and solve. During NYE, some 91 different workshops and service projects are available to the youth participants.
Lisa Green, marketing communications director at the Greater Lafayette YWCA, was happy to have a group come to that facility and help with landscaping. "We rely so much on volunteers for everything we do here," she said.
The Greater Lafayette YWCA provides a number of community services including a domestic violence intervention and prevention program, and offering assistance for under insured and uninsured women to obtain cancer screenings and identify treatment options. A second youth group returns to the Y on Thursday to help with the cancer program.
Green was glad to be able to share the Y’s work with the youth and hopes they reach out to their own local agencies after NYE.
At the Almost Home Humane Society, Madalyn Figurelle, another Wentz's UCC member, was cleaning cat cages, though tying up the hammock bedding was giving her some difficulty. Madalyn, whose mother is a veterinarian, says she loves animals. And while a shelter is not as good as an adopted family for these cats and other animals, "it is better than being on the streets."
Madalyn and others also had a chance to play with some of the shelter animals, keeping the animals "socialized," according to Almost Home’s Volunteer and Education Coordinator Taylor Vowels.
Vowels hopes these youth return home with a better understanding of what an animal really needs and with the knowledge that adoption carries a great responsibility.