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This week, more than 600 teens in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington are volunteering their time to repair homes and complete various service projects within their parish communities.

WorkCamp, an annual week-long program sponsored by the diocese, offers youth the opportunity to serve while building friendships and learning lessons of volunteerism.

Thirty-five parishes are supporting the effort to undertake more than 100 community-repair projects as part of the initiative, which runs June 19-24.

“Each year, hundreds of young people in our diocese take time out of their summer vacations to serve their neighbors in need – for this I am extraordinarily proud, as I am also for the adult staff and volunteers who facilitate this great work,” Bishop Michael Burbidge said in a statement.

“After a particularly difficult year in which many repairs had to be put on hold, the need is especially great,” Burbidge said.

WorkCamp projects include installing wheelchair ramps, painting projects, repairing home doors, decks, railings and fences, and preparing meals for those in need. In addition, WorkCamp groups begin their day with Mass at their local parish and enjoy music, games, prayer, talks and other social activities each evening.

“The impact of WorkCamp is tremendous. We are inspired by the number of young people who step forward to participate each year,” said Ed Gloninger, coordinator of the program for the diocese. “We have seen both teens and communities transformed. Our hope, of course, is that this transformation is just a beginning.”

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Youth, Campus and Young Adult Ministries has sponsored this week-long summer service program since 1990. There is no cost to those receiving services; all supplies, materials and building permits are provided by WorkCamp.

Crews arrive at residences with the necessary tools, food, water and everything they need to complete the projects.

For information, see the Website at www.arlingtondiocese.org/workcamp/.

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