KNOXVILLE (WATE) – More than 60 high school students and members of the First Baptist Church of Lewisville, Texas visited Knoxville to leave the community better than they found it.
They are on a mission trip and choir tour, with one of their stops being Knoxville’s Wesley House, a non-profit community center that helps low-income families in the area. The Texas students are helping inner city kids, like the ones attending a summer program at the Wesley House, position for a bright future.
“Just to set a good example so they can go down the right path in life, because the foundation is super important,” said Lindsey Kerns of Lewisville, Texas. “If you don’t have the right foundation, then you’re not really going to go anywhere in life, so by getting it now at a place like Wesley House is really crucial.”
First Baptist Church members believe in the value of community outreach, something that local leaders have been advocating for in Knoxville following the death of Fulton High School teenager Zaevion Dobson in December 2015.
“In the neighborhood where Wesley House has existed for 109 years in the inner city of Knoxville, we all know there have been a few things going on in the last few months, and so anything we can do to expose our kids to positive influences, to show them the way they need to be and where they need to go with their lives is something that we’re going to try and take advantage of,” said Tim Adams, Executive Director of the Wesley House Community Center.
The Texas students not only helped tutor children so they can stay on track academically, but they also served as a mentor and role model, someone that Knoxville youth can look up to and aspire to be.
“For us, it’s about planting a seed,” said Daniel Bloss of Lewisville, Texas. “We want to do what we can to help bridge the gap between the situation they’re in and the situation they want to be in. It’s an educational experience for them and it’s an educational experience for our students as well.”