COLUMBUS - A camp volunteer project in Hastings motivated a Columbus teen to start a similar venture here.
Chelsea Haack is heading up a one-day community volunteer and clean up effort called Project 5:16. She is asking teens to sign up to tackle nine community projects from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14. Some of the projects on the to-do list are painting playground equipment and cleaning up around local hiking trails.
Haack, 16, got the idea after attending a HOBY (Hugh O'Brian Youth) Leadership camp this summer in Hastings. She and about 150 other youths from across the state were selected as ambassadors for the camp. There they completed several community improvement projects such as picking up trash and helping at an animal shelter and nursing homes.
"I saw the impact it had on Hastings, and I thought we could so something like that here," Haack said of getting Project 5:16 off the ground. She named the local project after Matthew 5:16 in the Bible.
To get the project started she enlisted the help of her pastor at Peace Lutheran Church and also contacted the Columbus Chamber of Commerce about community projects.
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She is spreading the word about the project through Facebook and also set up a website at www.peacesenioryouth.weebly.com. Any high school student who wants to volunteer can register at the website. They are also looking for adults to help supervise, monetary donations and business sponsorship. Suggestions are also being taken for volunteer projects.
Registering by July 29 will earn the volunteer a free T-shirt. Anyone can come the day of the event to help out without registering. So far, Haack said about 40 people have signed up.
Teens can choose a preference of what project they would like to help with, but aren't guaranteed a selection of their choice. The list of projects is on the website. Haack hopes to have 100 teens participate. If it goes well, it could become an annual event.
Haack is a student at Columbus High School and is the daughter of Bill and Jody Haack. She has volunteered in various ways in the community and currently volunteers at Morys Haven.