Recently, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club welcomed Dr. Suellen Rodeffer Garner, who spoke to the club about World Changers, an organization founded in 1990 by the Southern Baptist Convention to conduct large youth-group projects to help disadvantaged home owners. Each year, World Changers organizes thousands of high school students who pay $300 for the opportunity to work on large home repair projects in more than 90 cities throughout the U.S.


This year, 240 student volunteers from Virginia, North and South Carolina will come to Nassau County July 13-18 to work, primarily on the homes of senior citizen widows selected for assistance by Barnabas and the Council on Aging. The kids, along with their chaperones and local volunteer contractors, will conduct approximately 20 home repair projects on leaky roofs, broken windows and doors, inadequate siding and other sub-standard housing issues. The group will also undertake smaller projects installing wheelchair ramps, house painting and property clean-up. Garner added that the kids, who will work from 7 a.m. to 4 .m. each day, will be painting portions of the Elm Street Recreation Center and clear weeds and trash from the Egans Creek Greenway.


Local churches, including First Baptist Fernandina Beach and the Journey Church, will provide the students and chaperones with food and housing during their stay, according to Garner. Nearly $70,000 of the projected $100,000 cost of construction materials needed for the repairs has already been raised through local private and civic donations. And, while the student volunteers focus nearly all their efforts on their work, Garner said she had promised that they would take time to enjoy the beaches and beauty of Amelia Island during their stay.