PLATTSBURGH — Youth at First Presbyterian Church of Plattsburgh learn early on the importance of helping others in need.
Opportunities to go on mission trips — near and away — come up frequently. Students may serve meals, help at food shelves, visit with the elderly, weed yards, paint fences, bake apple pies, read to a neighbor ...
“It’s important to see that the world is bigger than ourselves,” said Marianne Wilson, the church’s Youth and Family Ministry director. “I tell the kids that we didn’t see Jesus always in the church. Jesus was out in the world with the people, and many times he asked us to be the ones doing the work.”
During winter break in February, 15 youth and five adults from the church traveled to Washington, D.C., to help with several feeding projects. Memories from the trip, which is offered every other year, are still fresh in students’ minds.
“Going to Washington, D.C., was a real eye opener,” 15-year-old Andrew Baker said.
For him, one of the saddest realizations was seeing the same people in the same condition that they were in when he was there two years prior.
“You see a lot of things like that — people sleeping on the streets, people begging for money,” the Beekmantown Central School student said.
“I think it really just made us feel grateful for what we have,” Andrew’s sister, Amber Baker, said.
Serving meals one evening to homeless women and children at an organization called Thrive DC was a highlight for Amber.
“A couple of the homeless women there who stayed later ... helped put everything back (tables and chairs). And then a couple of them were talking with us, and they were taking turns singing,” the 17-year-old said.
“One woman was singing these deep soul songs with the idea of ‘Don’t give up.’ It was really cool. They were grateful that we were there.”