More than 150 teens from Arkansas are spending their Christmas break in South Mississippi. The teens from Southwest Church of Christ in Jonesboro, are helping coast property owners gut their homes, clear their lots and offer a little encouragement. It's a tough job but the teenagers say they're more than up for the challenge.
"When I saw the footage on television, my heart just went out to all the people here. I don't want to sit at home and do nothing. This is an awesome service opportunity and just getting out and doing something worthwhile," Paige Hardcastle said.
Fellow church member Jon Carmack echoed her words.
"It seems like the world has almost forgotten about all of this, all of this destruction the hurricane left behind. I wanted to come down here and help."
As they work, the teens learn valuable life lessons about helping others in need. It's all part of an annual church youth group conference called "Youth in Action."
"We are meeting nightly in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We have a youth conference that is normally held in Jonesboro every Christmas. This is our 30th year and we decided to take 'Youth In Action' on the road and help these folks down here that need it most," Jane Marie Woodruff said.
"To be a good Christian is to be a good servant," Hardcastle said.
That philosophy brought tears to Kim David's eyes. She's the property owner benefiting from the youth volunteers' work.
"This is so kind. This is just so nice. I've never had anyone do anything like this to help me. I paid somebody $50 to move that debris and they didn't finish. They took the money and didn't come back," David said.
She says thanks to the young volunteers, she's now on the road to rebuilding her life.
About 700 high school students from seven states are attending the youth conference. One hundred and fifty of those are from Jonesboro. All of the teens spend the day helping storm victims, and at night meet in Hattiesburg for prayer and worship services.