The 12-year-old from Johns Creek, Georgia was one of nearly 300 students, youth ministers and other volunteers across the state who gathered to spruce up Rome as part of March Mission Madness week sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
The weekend youth retreat had the kids visit 27 work sites around Rome on Saturday, said John Uldrick, minister to students and missions at Rome’s First Baptist Church.
Among the sites were Heritage Park, Riverwood Retirement Center and Roman Court, the Fielder Gym in South Rome and St. Mary’s Catholic School.
Marilyn Ringstaff, director of Women of W.O.R.T.H., Inc. on Dean Avenue, said she was grateful to the volunteers who came and did interior and exterior maintenance at her nonprofit clinic.
Her office manager, Kristen Sheeley, said the eight kids and three adults worked hard for five hours and accomplished an “incredible amount of work in that time.”
“They painted and cleaned up on the inside and they did a lot of yard work,” Sheeley said. “They cleaned up all this ivy that had been overgrown for a couple of years. They planted some flowers, painted some filing cabinets to make them look brand new.”
Sheeley said she thought some of the kids said they may come back in the future for more volunteer work.
“We rarely have time to do yard maintenance and upkeep the place so it was a huge help,” she said.
Volunteers ranged from sixth-graders to seniors in high school, said Paul Peterson, adult supervisor at the West Rome Boys and Girls Club. Peterson, who is Nathan’s father, also had his older son, Matt, in his volunteer group from Johns Creek Baptist Church.
“It’s just cool to see these kids from all across the state, all ages coming together to just do something this big,” Matt Peterson said.
Eleven-year-old Jack Weaver said he hopes kids who go to the Boys & Girls Club like their freshly painted walls.
“You see that it helps people,” he said. “Going through all this hard work, it’s going to go to someone who comes here and looks at the new painted walls.”
Nathan Peterson said another perk to March Mission Madness was meeting new people through the service experience. “It’s been fun. We’re making new friends as we do it, and you know you’re helping people by what you’re doing so that kind of makes you feel good.”