One year ago, a local youth group decided it wanted to make a significant impact on the lives of some in need.
Crossroads, Callaway Christian Church's youth group, chose to raise $13,700 to build a deep water well in Africa. The youth reached that goal early this month.
"It feels so nice to help out, because they could always use clean water and more water," said youth group member Maggie Gowin, 17.
Shawn Snider, youth minister, explained that the money will be used toward building a well in whichever African country that World Vision deems appropriate. Crossroads members decided to raise funds for the World Vision well project after participating in a special group activity in November 2010. During the activity, Snider said, several members presented videos to show the group "what breaks their heart and breaks the heart of God."
Members showed videos of child abuse, human trafficking, poverty, hunger and water and sanitation deficiencies.
"We had the entire group bawling by the time we were finished sharing," Snider recalled.
He said the young adults were moved by witnessing some of the horrible atrocities some people have to endure. Snider explained that he then asked the teens, "Now what can we do about it?"
After a brainstorming session, the group decided on the well project. Member Katie Crawford, 16, said Crossroads was already familiar with World Vision, because the members have sponsored an Indonesian child named Oddy through the organization for about three years.
Crawford and Gowin agreed that building a well was a way to help those who don't have a clean water source. Gowin said many people have to walk for miles to access water that may not even be disease-free. Once the teens decided this was the project where they could make a difference, they got busy.
"If we set our minds to do something, we're going to do it," Gowin said.
Through a variety of fundraisers that started last January - including having a dessert auction, a cupcake sale, and work auction - and some anonymous donations, the youth group was able to raise the required $13,700 in one year.
"It was such a big goal, and we accomplished it in just a little over a year," Crawford said.
Snider said all the donations toward the project came from within the church.
"They're amazing," Crawford said of the congregation. "They all are. We couldn't have done it without them."
Crossroads members volunteer in other ways as well. They occassionally help out at the Fulton Soup Kitchen serving meals. Last summer, members traveled to tornado-torn Joplin twice to help with rebuilding efforts.
Crawford and Gowin both said one of the reasons they enjoy being in Crossroads is because it is a mission-minded group.
"We do a lot as a youth group," Crawford said. "We do a lot for the community."