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College hosts volunteer organization

2011-07-29

St. Lawrence College's Cornwall campus recently opened its doors, from July 25 to 29, to host over 300 U.S. young volunteers from Group Cares. Coming from churches spanning 12 states, the group, who call themselves Group Work Camps, made the long drive to Cornwall to provide hands-on assistance to the SD&G area.

"We generally always stay in higher-level schools because elementary schools and churches don’t have enough shower facilities and facilities to cook," said Rex Beale, Camp Director.

Don Fairweather, St. Lawrence College Campus Dean, praised the group for their work. "They provided an immense service to our community by completing dozens of projects for organizations and individuals who needed a helping hand."

Barry Kennedy, Director of Residence and Conference Services agreed: "The groups provide a great community service and if it assists our community, we want to be involved. From a business perspective, it is also bringing revenue to the college that we may not otherwise have," he said, referring to the fee Group Cares paid to rent the college, as well as using additional services.

Group Cares look at three criteria in helping residents – financial need, age, or a disability. In late April, a team came to the area, writing up potential worksites and interviewing residents on what work was needed to be done, as well as what work the organization could provide. Although the youth are pre-college age, they’re quite capable of many tasks including painting, working on interior drywall and light roofing.

The group’s stay in the area has been a positive experience. "It’s a lovely place, and the people are very receptive," said Beale. Beale was quick to point out that the services provided by the work camp will not take away jobs from Canadians. "The people we’re doing this for wouldn’t otherwise have the work done," said Beale. "It’s a value of over $125,000 to the communities."