Orono Teens Help Out 

There were smiles tonight at the Church of Universal Fellowship, where Old Town and Orono High School students and chaperones returned home after a week helping rebuild homes in New Orleans. The youth group – called YAWP, for Young Adults With Pizzazz – brought back with them lessons learned.”It’s no longer something you see on the news,” says YAWP leader Sam Kunz. “When you walk by, a lot of the homes are still in the same shape as when Katrina struck.””Four years later nothing had been done there,” says group member Emily Bottie, of some of the hardest-hit areas they visited. “That was very hard to see.”The students were full of stories about the people they met who had lost their homes.”They had the mentality, ‘Well, we still have our family, but we lost a lot, but we can still get back on our feet if we just work hard for it,’ and so many people had that mentality, it was just amazing to see,” says group member Alyssa Bates.The group raised more than eight thousand dollars to travel to St. Bernard Parish and help rebuilding efforts, after an idea proposed by one of their youth group leaders.”They did it. The kids did it and that just blew my mind,” says YAWP leader Cami Carter.Matt Gilman’s son Chris went on the trip. “There’s a ton of energy and enthusiasm and drive within that group, so I’m not surprised it took place that way,” he says.The students say they want to take what they’re learned, and next, help people in their own community.”The days were really long. We got up really early and we stayed up really late,” says Chris Gilman. “But it was well worth it.”