The Youth Mission Team of St. Catherine of Siena Church in West Dundee spent a week this summer from June 8-13 in Toledo, Ohio, volunteering their services to help those in need throughout the area.
The team, which was comprised of 40 teens and 10 adult chaperones, was the largest group to date from St. Catherine of Siena Church who have taken part in mission trips for the past 10 years.
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The group helped fill a dire need of sprucing up residential homes by painting, tidying up yards and gardens, and other projects.
At the Catholic Club, a child education center in Toledo, a group sorted donations, power washed toys, tables and chairs, built picnic tables, weeded the playground, re-sanded the sand box and cleaned out their warehouse.
One team worked at an inner city church that converted their property into a small farm. Local residents, who are struggling financially, received their own plot to grow vegetables. They must work the farm as a family at least 10 hours per week and then receive a large bag of fresh produce. Faith was shared by the church workers and campers, while the Youth Mission Team worked with the families.
A group also worked on cleaning and scrubbing the inside of a 90-day homeless shelter, known as the "Beach House," named for the home's original owners. The shelter houses up to 27 people at a time with 22 beds and 5 cribs. The youth mission team also weeded, leveled and mulched the area and grounds.
According to one of the volunteers, Katy Swanson, "sharing time with these families was a very rewarding and educational experience."
The St. Catherine of Siena youth mission team, which has supported volunteering endeavors for the past 10 years, worked through the Catholic Heart Work Camp organization to serve the Toledo community joining more than 300 teens from neighboring states.
The local youth mission team members who volunteered in Toledo were: Ryan Alvaro, Victoria Antonelli, Madelyn Barrett, Caroline Bayer, Alec Bucholc, Michael Chammany, Erica Costello, John Gotheridge, Trent Hanselmann, Nadine Hernandez, Catherine Hicks, Caroline Hutton, Lisa Jaskowiak, Christine Johnsen, Aidan Johnson, Justin Kaufmann, Stephanie Kaufmann, Gabriel Mendez, Christopher Mueller, Connor Nolan, Kelsea Nolan, Ewa Oszajec, Kasia Oszajec, Christopher Pottorff, Candice Rago, Kelsey Rago, Sam Reedy, Zachary Reedy, Austin Scarnegie, DeMarco Scarnegie, Alex Semler, Kimmy Skavarla, Nathan Smith, Emily Stypinski, Evan Swanson, Casey Weeks, Brandon Wirkus, and Kate Wirkus.
The project team chaperones were: Caryn Antonelli, Mark Fitzgerald, Kimberly Grant, Mark Hicks, Peter Mueller, Meaghan Pottorff, Dianne Rago, Katy Swanson, Christopher Reedy, Joe Sakowski, and Jim Scarnegie.
The St. Catherine of Siena Church youth mission team is open to all high school students, freshmen to graduated seniors, in the parish.
The church is at 845 W. Main St. in West Dundee. For information, call the parish office at (847) 426-2217.