An army of 226 volunteer youth, ages 13-18, infiltrated Reno for the Catholic Heart Workcamp. This first time event gathered youth from all over northern Nevada and California, to impact the poor and disenfranchised in our area.
These volunteers are working at five different sites in Reno, from the children’s hospital at Renown, to the food kitchens for Catholic Charities and even the immigration center and horse rescue. Each youth has committed six hours a day to impacting the poor.
“In this I, I, me, me, world” these teens get an opportunity “to see what they are capable of,” said Nancy Nuti, local youth minister and volunteer leader for the workshop. Her group was boxing up meals for the Catholic Charities food pantry. Nuti was quite impressed with the character of the youth she is working with.
“This call for God is part of who they are, not just something they do on Sunday,” said Nuti.
Nuti mentioned that some of the volunteers are “coerced” by service hour obligations through school and church, but she has witnessed a “transformation of character” in the youth. She said that it’s a pleasure to watch these young people grow and learn about the joy of serving others.
“It’s amazing how much we take for granted,” said Emily, a youngster working with Nuti. Emily said she was impacted by how much joy a meal can affect a complete stranger who has nothing.
Emily, herself a stranger to some of the friends she made, added that, “We all started off strangers, but we came together” for a cause bigger than ourselves.
At the Holy Child Early Learning Center, youth have been volunteering all week, doing everything from painting the facility to singing and playing with the kids at the childcare center. Sabrina Walter, 27, volunteer leader, called it a great fulfilling week even citing a sort of conversion experience.
“If we are called to love others, it’s simple,” said Walter. She hopes she can pass on the message of love to the children she worked with this week.
At the Catholic Charities food kitchen, Payton and Dawson, two volunteers dutifully cleaned vegetables for the oncoming lunch rush. They both expressed a “calling to help” when they learned of the workcamp.
“Kids can have an impact,” said Jessica Sharp, volunteer leader at the kitchen. She brought her two daughters down to help with the Workcamp. She wants them to know about a world bigger then themselves.
“We know God loves us and we want to share that faith with others.” said Sharp.
Information on Catholic Heart Workcamp:
“Catholic Heart Workcamp is a national organization that has been around for more than two decades. It started in 1993 in Orlando, Florida with 100 participants and has grown to over 13,000 youth serving in 2013. The program provides parish youth groups, teens and adult leaders service opportunities to restore homes and hearts, feed the hungry, lift the spirits of children, bring joy to the elderly and disabled and offer assistance while partnering with social agencies.”
Catholic HEART Workcamp
P.O. Box 2226
Goldenrod, FL 32733
Phone: (407) 678-0073
Fax : (407) 678-8602