Student volunteers helping clean up North Hill neighborhood

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:19 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - This summer students are offering their time and energy to visit and help other communities for what they’re calling a “Week of Hope.”

The mission trip organization Group Cares has nearly 2,700 students participating in volunteer work this year. They come from across the country to new places and get to know locals, working on whatever projects need some manpower.

In North Charleston, these volunteers are spending a couple of days clearing out lots owned by Liberty Hill Redevelopment Group, to help the community maximize the use of their land.

Elijah Shreffler, a 14-year-old volunteer, says he wanted to give back to a new community and meet new people.

“It’s very inspirational because after all this work and progress you realize what you can do with just a couple of people and a little bit of time,” Shreffler says.

Micah Braznell, a 12-year-old, says his youth group was singing up and he felt like he needed to be a part of something bigger than himself.

“The guys that we were helping out, they were dumbfounded that we could do all this in such a short amount of time,” Braznell said.

Craig Mitchell with the Liberty Hill Redevelopment Group called the volunteers “worker bees,” saying he’s never seen more enthusiastic and hard-working people. Now, he calls them his friends and hopes they can stay in touch to follow how the neighborhood grows.

“We met new friends over these last couple of days and we are going to ensure that we keep the relationship and maybe one day we can go to their neighborhoods and help them because it’s our turn today and maybe tomorrow it’s theirs,” Mitchell says.

Austin Vansparrentak, an 18-year-old, says it’s been a fun experience doing yard work and solving problems while knowing they are accomplishing the community’s goals.

“Someone drove past us and they were asking us what we were doing and we told them and they were so thankful for how much we were helping out. It means a lot, especially with how much history this neighborhood has in the state,” Vansparrentak said.

Liberty Hill Redevelopment Group members say they are grateful to the group for coming to Charleston and hope to work with Group Cares again to better more communities in Charleston and across the country.

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