NEWPORT, Ind. — Vermillion County 4-H Junior Leaders went a “mystery trip” last month. They had no idea where they were going when they left the courthouse at 7 a.m. Dec. 28. They simply were told what they should wear — right down to socks and comfortable walking shoes.
All the youth knew was that it would be a service trip.
Thirty-two teens and six adults traveled by school bus and started the morning at Coburn Place on 38th Street, Indianapolis, near the state fairgrounds. Coburn Place is a safe haven for women and children escaping the most violent of domestic abuse. Housed in a former elementary school, it is filled to capacity with 35 mothers and 65 children; there are 40 families on the waiting list.
Furnished apartments include: 10 three-bedroom; 15 two-bedroom; and 15 one-bedroom, plus a lot of common areas, including a kitchen area, computer lab, toy room, hallways, stairs and some public restrooms. Most of these families left their homes with just the clothes on their backs and for many, escape was a matter of life and death.
The youth were scheduled to be there for two and a half to three hours. The teens were divided into four teams. Two teams were done with the assigned task in 20 minutes. So, they took it upon themselves to do what they felt like needed done, as the volunteer coordinators had a hard time keeping up with them.
Tasks completed included:
—Taking down and packing away all Christmas decorations in common areas and putting away in storage.
— Sorting through donations and separating by baby needs, toiletry, food, etc.
—Sorting through food in pantry and purging those out of date and writing very visibly with Sharpie the expiration date of those still on shelves before new donations were added.
— Vacuum all carpeted areas in common areas