Acteens raise their hands in service in classrooms around Nashville _81103

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Posted: 8/8/03

Acteens raise their hands in service
in classrooms around Nashville

By Michael Foust

Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Public schools in Nashville will be a bit cleaner this fall thanks to thousands of Acteens who went around the city July 31, lending a helping hand.

About 6,500 Acteens–teenage girls who participate in a Southern Baptist missions/education program designed for them–took part in a community service project by picking up trash, unpacking boxes and participating in other chores at 65 city public schools.

The Acteens also filled 3,000 backpacks with school supplies that will be given to elementary students who come from needy families. Additionally, the teens donated boxes filled with school supplies to Mississippi River Ministries and the Nashville Baptist Association to assist in future outreach to the schools.

Jennifer Martin (left) and Misha Cousin, Acteens from Harvey Baptist Church in Stephenville, help pick up trash at an elementary school as part of hands-on service during the National Acteens Convention in Nashville. (Theresa Barnett/WMU Photo)

The community project was part of the National Acteens Convention, which brought teenage girls from several countries and more than 30 states to Nashville.

“Those girls are wonderful,” one teacher at Lockeland Elementary School said to another as the teens worked around them. “They have unpacked my room. They are so good.”

The Acteens began outside, picking up trash and debris that had collected over the months. Then they gathered in the school gym, waiting for an assignment.

“I need 22 window-wipers!” shouted one of the group leaders, Linda Sutton of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C. Soon, 22 Acteens were on the task, cleaning windows.

The teens also cleaned bookshelves and bathrooms and moved equipment. Each of them signed a banner that read: “Teachers make a world of difference. Thank you!”

The project was an extension from the previous day, when Acteens gathered at the Tennessee state Capitol to pray for the city, the nation and the world.

“We put feet to our prayers by going into the public schools and doing community service projects in whatever capacity they (needed) us,” said Kristy Carr, volunteer specialist for Woman's Missionary Union and chair of National Acteens Convention ministries. WMU sponsors Acteens.

“We hope and pray that through our example a door will open for the local associations and churches to carry on (the) work.”

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