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"I fulfilled my expectations beyond (what) I could have ever imagined. We've been doing some amazing work with the foundation in one neighborhood, laying sod in another, now we're painting," Kaushanasky said. "It's just been one of the best experiences I could ever had."
Habitat International asked Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity to apply to be a host site for the Learn and Build program. sites and one international site. Teens in the program worked in Asheville from July 7 15.
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"High school is a great age to encourage volunteerism and develop active citizens," Kjellquist said.
Kennedy Beal, of Texas, was inspired to apply for the program through her exposure to Habitat.
Learn and Build is one great way to do that," she added.
"I wanted to do something out side of the community, more hands on," Kaushanasky said.
Nicole Mejia, a 17 year old from Delaware, learned of the program from her mom and liked the travel and volunteer aspects.
Habitat program brings teen volunteers to Asheville
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"I lived in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, and saw the good Habitat did. When I turned 17, I realized I wanted to apply, and I got into Asheville," Beal said.
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During their nine days in WNC, students worked on the Pope Francis House construction site in Shiloh; helped in the ReStore; and participated in a Shiloh community service day. Students got their hands dirty, aided in the community garden, helped with a river cleanup and more.
Libby Garrison, 16, left, and Kennedy Beal, 17, paint together Monday morning as part of Habitat for Humanity's Learn and Build team. The program brings together high school students from across the nation and sends them to Habitat sites to participate in service learning.
"Habitat houses don't build themselves," Kjellquist said, noting Asheville Habitat receives a financial donation through participants' program fees.
Overall, 80 students ages 16 18 were selected to participate in Learn and Build through an application process. Along with Asheville, they were sent to sites in Wisconsin, Louisiana, Hawaii and Macedonia.
"The goal is to invest in youth who are interested in Habitat and instill in them the importance of volunteer service," said Ariane Kjellquist, communications director for Asheville Habitat.
The Pope Francis House, being built in honor of the Roman Catholic leader, will be owned by Lashawn Meadows.
the program, he found himself working in Asheville alongside 15 other teens to help build a home and more.
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