PEORIA - For one week each year, Peoria is an epicenter for young volunteers. Three-hundred kids from as far away as Ireland travel to the River City to donate their time as part of Mission Peoria.
Summertime is usually saved for vacations and camps, but for Austen Hindenach, it’s a chance to travel from Arizona to Peoria to volunteer.
“Cause I just like to serve. You know, I like to come out here and, uh, help the community and just be a part of it,” said Hindenach, who has contributing to Mission Peoria for several years.
He joined other kids- many of them teenagers- from near and far, to help cleanup the future New Beginnings Community Center.
“We are pulling weeds. And we are landscaping the lot,” said Kadee Allenbaugh.
But the day wasn’t all about pulling weeds and shoveling mulch.
Volunteers found time to have fun with kids in the neighborhood.
“It's just a great mission field to be able to able to just reach out to the people.”
Leaders at New Beginnings Ministry say seeing kids return and clean up their community, where 120-year old church recently close its doors, is a sight for sore eyes.
“To see the kids coming. It's like a bright spot. It gives them a sense of hope knowing that something big is about to happen, to be able to resurrect this area,” said Frankie King, an elder at New Beginnings Ministry.
Each year ten non-profits host volunteers who help at the same locations, but this year the Crittenton Center joined the program.
The kids complete the tedious tasks that might otherwise not get done.
“They come out and volunteer their time, but also they have the experience of increasing their skills.”
And as an added pay off, new friends and life lessons.
The Dream Center is handing out backpacks full of school supplies to kids in need on Saturday.
The backpacks were filled by volunteers this week.
The Dream Center is putting on a concert on Friday to raise money for their Backpack Peoria Program.
It takes place at the Riverside Community Church and starts at 6:30 P.M. Christian rock band, Audio Adrenaline, will be the main performer. The concert is free, but donations are welcome.
Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.