A Youth-led Car Wash Helps Support Genesis Women’s Shelter

Katy Oliphint, PT Corps Member at Elmwood UMC 

My name is Katy Oliphint and this summer, I have had the pleasure of serving the youth of Elmwood United Methodist Church as a PT Corps Member. This is my first summer at Project Transformation and let me just say that this internship has far exceeded my expectations in many different ways. Not only has my life been greatly impacted by these smart, humorous, and loving teens, but also the youth at Elmwood have been able to make an impact of their own.

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As part of the curriculum earlier this summer, the youth were asked to create a small service project for a local charity or cause of their choice. We spent the beginning of the week learning about different organizations raising awareness around issues facing the world today. When it came time to decide what cause we were going to support for the service project, I was blown away at the number of ideas the kids came up with. These teens are passionate about a wide variety of causes! After narrowing down our options and talking it over, the youth decided to raise money for Genesis Women’s Shelter, a safe space for women and children escaping the dangers of domestic violence. Elmwood youth were excited to raise money and wanted to turn this small service project into something fun and different—so we put on a car wash!

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I’ll admit, I was worried that the car wash would not go over well. We made some last minute posters and flyers to post in the church and hand out to parents the day before. I did not think the kids would want to put in the effort to make the car wash successful. But as always, the kids blew me away. They took their posters with pride and waved to cars passing by the church. The kids kindly took turns between washing, rinsing, and drying the cars and they had pure joy in their eyes while doing it. When it was over, we counted the donations given. We collected a little over $100! When we announced our total to the kids, they were ecstatic. It was amazing to see Elmwood youth come together to give back to their community and make a difference. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with these kids. I have seen their beautiful hearts and have been greatly impacted by their enthusiasm to help others. Service is fun!

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