Sunday, January 19, 2003

Some Good News

Teen volunteers win awards for ommunity service


Each week, Alex Weber visits a disabled, elderly woman and does household chores.

On the first Sunday of each month, Lauren Hutchins goes with the Mission of Second Baptist Church to give communion to seniors in nursing homes.

Nick Furtwengler is busy in Over-the-Rhine in a ministry of City Cure, building a solid relationship between children in that area and high school mentors.

Christina Mayhaus keeps busy as a leadership development counselor with the American Red Cross, planning activities, developing and teaching classes and supervising families and teen groups in activities.

They are teens who have shown the dedication and strength to deal with their own lives while giving time to help others.

On Jan. 25, Lighthouse Youth Services will recognize them along with a youth group for their volunteerism with the agency's Visions Award. The ceremony will be held from 11 a.m. to noon at Center Court in Kenwood Towne Centre.

"It is nice to be recognized by others for doing community service," said Mr. Weber, a senior at St. Xavier High School. He will receive the Service to Special Needs Person award.

"First, I was a little embarrassed, but I guess it is good because others see what you are doing and then they join in," Mr. Weber said.

Ms. Hutchins will receive the Service to Adults or Senior Citizens award, and is excited about it, she said.

"We started going to different nursing homes to give communion to people because they were not able to come to church," she said. She also helps with the devotion and prayers, speaks kind words to the elderly and gives them hugs.

"I have so much to learn and they have so much knowledge and wisdom to give. I can receive so much more by just giving a little of my time. Isn't that what God wants us to do?"

She is a senior at Roger Bacon High School.

Mr. Furtwengler will receive the Service to Youth award for participating in a ministry to help underprivileged children in Over-the-Rhine. He works with first- through fifth graders at Emanuel Community Center.

"It is really a lot of fun while helping to give them direction," Mr. Furtwengler said. "We play basketball, do Bible study and then we sit and talk and they just get stuff off their chest. I think it is kind of neat getting the award. I would like to continue this kind of work while in college."

He is a senior at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.

When Diana Long of the American Red Cross nominated Ms. Mayhaus for the Service to the Community award, she said: "She (Christina) doesn't believe in the words `I can't' and inspires people around her, including peers, those she serves and even adults leading those programs to do their best. Chistina does nothing halfway and her follow-through is remarkable."

Ms. Mayhaus is a senior at Mother of Mercy High School. She has volunteered at the Red Cross for three years.

"I heard about the program through a friend and I have been able to bring in other friends," Ms. Mayhaus said.

She also volunteers at Mercy Franciscan Hospital as a Eucharistic minister, as preschool assistant at Ronald McDonald House, and with Girl Scouts and Pregnancy Center West.

The Leadership Development Center, a diverse group of 28 high school counselors, won the Youth Groups in Service award.

Each counselor completed 150 hours, meeting every other Saturday for eight months in leadership camps, planning activities, developing lesson plans and guiding 150 of their same age peers.

An important aspect of their volunteer work is to encourage other campers to feel good about themselves while recognizing the importance of self-respect .

Allen Howard's "Some Good News" column runs Sunday-Friday. If you have suggestions about outstanding achievements, let him know at 768-8362, at or by fax at 768-8340.

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