California Teens Help Fellow Americans In Need

Some California high school students are discovering they don't have to travel to foreign lands to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

The juniors and seniors from The King's Academy in Sunnyville, California are used to the hard work that goes along with building and repairing houses, but they're used to doing it in Mexico.

High school junior Spencer Nolet said, "When you go down there and you see what these people are living in, tarps and cardboard walls, it's pretty amazing."

This is Community Service Week at The King's Academy. While some students still went south of the border, about three dozen others from the private Christian school headed for South Mississippi.

"As a school, we've been doing community service for 15 years in Mexico and we've built almost 180 homes," said teacher Beth Coleman. "This year we decided to expand it and show the kids the need for responsibility and community service in our own country. Part of it was to see that there are people in need in our own country. That's a big thing. Another experience out of it is to teach them what it feels like to serve someone else and to be available to them."

This week the California teens will spruce up three Ocean Springs homes. They also hope to make new friends.

"We've already interacted with some of the homeowners and they're great people," said Nolet. "They're fun to laugh with."

Hannah Henderson agrees.

"A lot of similarities are just talking to the families and getting to know them and teaching them about our religion and how that plays into how much we want to help them."

A third group students is spending this week in the Appalachian Mountains doing community service.