Eight youths at the Church in Ocean Park in Santa Monica have spent Sundays for the past nine years learning how to serve their community.
Six years ago, they started holding talent shows showcasing church members’ talents, to raise money to help the homeless in their community.
They put together bags with food and supplies to give to people who came to their church looking for aid.
Since then, they have sent money to a school for “untouchable” children in India, done ecological restoration work in Mono Lake and helped repair homes in the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.
This summer, six youths are planning to go to Honduras through the nonprofit organization Sierra Service Project.
In Honduras, they will build two complete houses in the village of El Paraiso.
During the educational trip, the youth group members will learn about developing countries, the United States’ role in Latin America and how to build a house.
They will stay in a local hotel, eat their meals at a local restaurant or cafeteria and take excursions to visit other service organizations in the surrounding countryside.
In addition to building the two homes, the youths will spend time with El Paraiso community leaders and children. Nick Gerda, a youth group member who went to Honduras last summer came back and said the trip changed his life.
“It was good to bond with Honduran youths,” he said. “It also offered a powerful insight to how people live in the developing world and showed me how I can help to change a family’s life.”
Emma Chapple, another member of the group, is looking forward to going to Honduras.
“We’ve been talking a lot in our youth group and have realized that we have so many opportunities and privileges that most people in the world do not have,” Chapple said. “We want to use this privilege to give our time, energy, labor and love to help others.”
Information, www.sierra serviceproject.org/honduras_info .htm or (310) 399-1631.