November 13, 2003 at 10:37 a.m.
The first yard belonged to a woman who had recently lost her husband. This was the third year that a Youth Service Bureau work crew had been to the house. When the kids learned that her husband had died during the last year, their raking took on a new significance. One youth remarked, “This would be a lot of yard to rake for just one person. Can you imagine how long it would take?”
The second yard tackled by this crew was at Elder Haven, an assisted living home, on 4th Street in Forest Lake. At Elder Haven, the youth had a chance to see, first hand, who they were helping out. Residents put on their coats and joined in raking for a time. Sitting on a bench with one youth, “Frank” told stories about his involvement in WWII. The youth listened intently and asked lots of questions.
The workers roasted hotdogs and marshmallows, provided by Elder Haven, over a campfire. Inside they could hear another resident playing gospel music on the piano in the living room. After the last bag of leaves was tossed into the pile, a community of people had been helped and a group of youth learned what it felt like to give something back.
Make a Difference is one of many programs run by the Youth Service Bureau, a non-profit organization serving all of Chisago County and the Forest Lake Area of Washington County (including portions of Anoka and Isanti counties). Its mission is to ensure the success of youth by providing programs and services which reflect our belief that youth will be successful when relationships are strong, families are involved and supportive, communities are caring, harmony is restored and youth have the skills and opportunities for citizenship. For information call the YSB at 651-464-3685 or visit www.ysblakes area.org