By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – More than 400 youths will come to the Howard-Suamico area this summer to gain life experiences and repair a few homes while they’re at it.
Reframe Titletown is a mission project that will bring 400 Christian youths from across the country to this area for a mission trip.
“These kids are really good kids,” said Cindy Bishoff, mission office coordinator at Trinity Lutheran Church. “They always say ‘please and thank you.’ It’s about getting to know the homeowners and through that they become friends.”
The last Reframe Titletown project was in 2015 and worked on homes in Green Bay.
“The thing is you always hear the saying ‘the more you give, the more you receive,’ and it’s so true for these kids,” Bishoff said. “They get so much more back then they’ve given. They leave feeling like the really made a difference in somebody’s life, and they did.”
Bishoff is coordinating the mission with help from various sponsors.
One of those sponsors is NeighborWorks Green Bay.
“Why not here?” said Scott Schoeneman, NeighborWorks CEO. “We’re sending the kids all over the place, why not host it here? So we started exploring what it would take to host a site here. We found out it’s a lot of work, but a lot of meaningful work and it’s worth it.”
The reason the work will be done in Howard and Suamico is because of another sponsor, the Howard-Suamico School District.
The district is putting the youth volunteers up at Bay View Middle School during their stay June 24-30.
“We are grateful when organizations seek to partner with the school district in support of our community,” said Howard-Suamico School District Superintendent Damian LaCroix. “Just like our community collaboration at The Giving Tree food pantry, and Bay Port students participating in Habitat for Humanity, we are excited about the possibility of this event benefiting HSSD families.”
Another sponsor is Kimps Ace Hardware, which has been in the area for 78 years and has a history of supporting youth projects.
“The local community supports us of course, so we try to do things back to help the community also,” said Jeff Targaczewski, part of the event team at Kimps.
Churches from across the country will send their kids, who will fundraise for the cost. Some of the materials will be purchased through those funds while others will be donated.
The one thing Schoeneman is in need of right now is more homes for the kids to work on when they arrive in June.
“If someone has a walkup staircase we’re capable and able to put together a wheelchair ramp or just a walking ramp,” he said. “A lot of it is painting, both interior and exterior. Generally think of something that requires a lot of labor, but not a lot of years of experience.”
Other eligible repair projects may include; porch repair and construction, step repair, weatherization, landscaping and mobile home skirting.
Schoeneman is in need of homes, but he wants to make sure the people who receive the free repairs are people who need it.
“The people who are the most deserving are sometimes the least likely to raise their hand and ask for help,” he said.
Those people could be elderly with a fixed income, who are in need of home repairs they can’t normally afford.
Anyone interested in applying for the free home repairs can visit nwgreenbay.org for an application, or stop by its office at 437 S. Jackson St., Green Bay. Applications are due March 30.
Those interested in making a donation to help the efforts can call Schoenenman at 920-448-3075 or Trinity Lutheran Church at 920-437-8124.