TeenServe volunteers invade Pontiac

By WEEK Producer

June 13, 2012 Updated Jun 13, 2012 at 6:33 PM CDT

PONTIAC, Ill. -- Sixteen-year-old Ashley LeVan never did much painting, but this week, it's just about all she's doing.

"We're painting this house and scraping it," said LeVan. "We're going to make it look just about brand new."

It's not your typical summer job. LeVan came all the way from Ohio to help spruce up a house in Pontiac.

Another volunteer, Ben Cohoon, lives in Minnesota. Both are participating in a week long initiative known as TeenServe.

"TeenServe is a mission of young adults, teenagers, who come from all over the country," explained Scott McCoy, a spokesperson for TeenServe Pontiac. "They're here to work on homes and help people who need a little extra help with their home."

And homeowner Micole Konetski appreciates that help.

"I don't think I would have gotten it done if it wasn't for them because of the money and the cost," said Konetski.

TeenServe is coordinating a total of 43 projects in Pontiac and around Livingston County. The work includes everything from painting to building wheelchair ramps and stairs to general repairs.

Projects are selected based on need. Roughly 250 teenagers are the ones doing the heavy lifting. They're up at 6 o'clock every morning after spending each night camped out in classrooms at Pontiac High School.

The days are long and the work is hard, but its also gratifying.

"It feels good to help someone who really needs it," said 17-year-old Ben Cohoon of Farmington, Minnesota. "You can tell by the smile on their face when we come here everyday. The resident is happy to see you and happy to get going for the day."

But it's not all work and no play.

"If we have a little bit of free time we can go down to the rec center and swim or play basketball or exercise," said LeVan.

After dinner, there's a worship service and nightly programs that include guest speakers and musical acts.

It's hard to say whose getting more from TeenServe, the home owners or the kids.