Two groups from Sunnydale Adventist Academy (SAA) visited Joplin, Missouri in February to help clean up and rebuild after last year’s devastating tornado. The volunteer groups, consisting of 29 and 31 students respectively, and several adult sponsors with construction experience, went to Joplin to work with Americorps and Catholic Charities.
The groups accomplished an astounding amount of work in two weeks’ time. They cleared debris, demolished a ruined house and framed up a new one, installed insulation and did wiring for several houses. They also interacted with residents, helping them move and clean up yards.
“The kids worked like troopers,” said Erv Bales, SAA VP for finance and recruiting. “They learned a lot, made new friends and got a whole new perspective on what’s really important. Catholic Charities leadership was very complementary regarding our efforts and the kids’ work ethic.”

“The gratitude of the people was amazing,” said Michelle, a junior at SAA. “I thought we would just be another group that went to Joplin, but we actually influenced people’s lives.”

By Michelle Miracle, Iowa-Missouri Conference communication director.