700 volunteers lend a helping hand across Pine Belt

A youth conference gathered hundreds across the state to participate in service projects

700 volunteers lend a helping hand across Pine Belt

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - About 700 teens from The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered for a church youth conference at the University of Southern Mississippi Thursday to help the Pine Belt with service projects.

Volunteer coordinator Jimmy Boone said that the students had an opportunity to be anywhere today.

“These kids that could really be anywhere today, they could be at home, they could be doing other things, but they wanted to give up their time and their talents,” said Boone.

The conference included speakers, activities and fellowship with students from ages 14-18 that are from across the Magnolia State.

One of the projects students participated in was service projects. Through nine different sites, teens were able to give back in a big way across the Pine Belt. The service projects were at the Hawkins Elementary Schools, Edwards Street Fellowship Center, Give & Take Kitchen, Thames Elementary or Kamper Park, Hattiesburg Public Schools, The Oseola McCarty Youth Development Center and a city wide clean up, according to the conference.

Scott Wallace, a volunteer at the Hattiesburg Area Habitat For Humanity site, participated in the day of giving back. Wallace said his experience was amazing.

“It’s awesome,” Wallace said. “I mean, one, it’s cool, because we’re all in the yellow shirts. And you can kind of see we all have the same goal.”

“So we kind of had a conga line where we’re moving all the doors out so we could burn them. And then other stuff, we’re just moving out here so that they can have a better vantage point for selling I believe,” Wallace added.

Volunteers said they were happy to lend a helping hand.

“I think number one, whenever I serve people, I feel better about who I am and then it’s really cool to be part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” said volunteer Mya Bascon.

The youth will be at the conference through Saturday.

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