Greensboro, NC -- Summer vacations are often suited for places such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Outer Banks or somewhere else far away. But almost 100 high school students from across the country chose Greensboro.
They're not in town to kick back and relax. The students are volunteering through a partnership between Housing Greensboro and the Catholic HEART Workcamp. Their assignment is to build wheelchair ramps, but the reality is they're changing lives.
The work is tough and the weather is challenging.
"It's really hot and sticky," said Jenna Preslicka from Savage, Minn. "But you just work through it."
Some of the students are enduring the heat and humidity after enduring a long trip to get here.
"The bus ride is kind of long," Marianna Kramer from Prior Lake, Minn., said. "It was like 27 hours, I think."
Whether they're from Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia or Tennessee, they say there's no place they'd rather be right now than right here.
"I've done it for the past two years," said Alex McKee, a 17-year-old from Franklin, Tenn. :This is my third year doing it. And I've always had fun. Greensboro sounded like a great place to come."
The people they're helping say their impact is overwhelming.
"It's emotional just to see these young kids out here doing what they're doing," Greensboro homeowner Rae Harris said. "And they come from all over to do this. It's a privilege [to have them here]."
Harris had a hard time getting out of her house until last year's volunteers from the same outreach built her a wheelchair ramp. This year's group is here to sand and stain it.
"It's just heartwarming, just to see them," Harris said. "And they come with smiles on their faces."
The students might be smiling because they understand the magnitude of their work.
"I think it just makes me realize how much I have," Kramer said. "I just am really lucky to have what I have."
McKee said there's no way he would've passed up the opportunity to come to Greensboro.
"You kind of grow closer to God on these trips because you realize that he's everywhere," McKee said. "He's not just in my church, he's throughout the world. ... We finish something, we help somebody. And that's all that really matters in life. You just gotta help people."
They'll be doing a lot of helping this week. Now through Thursday, the group is building nine ramps and repairing one more.
If you need housing help or know someone who needs a ramp, call Anna Phillips at Housing Greensboro at 676-6987. If you'd like to donate material or take part in a future build, call Gene Brown at 676-6986.
WFMY News 2