The World Changers Made a Difference in Sugar Hill - 2010 

The City of Sugar Hill and the Sugar Hill Housing Authority sponsored the World Changers Southern Baptists Youth Mission “hands-on” work experience in Sugar Hill.  Mayor Gary Pirkle initiated the contact with Randal Patterson, a World Changers Construction Coordinator, as a way to improve the well being of some of our disadvantaged citizens.  The Housing Authority had been looking for an avenue to give back to the community, so with their generous financial sponsorship, 160 young adults came to Sugar Hill July 19-24th to paint, reroof, build handicap ramps and other repair for needy residents within the City. 

World Changers national work projects began in the summer of 1990 in Briceville, TN where 137 youths and adults spent a week performing light construction jobs on nine homes.  In 2009, World Changers coordinated over 23,000 participants (who pay their own way to participate) at 100 locations on 1,793 work sites and 51 ministry sites.  The youngsters are part of a student organization of the Alpharetta-based North American Mission Board, an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

We received several applications from residents that needed help to maintain their home, or may need some minor repairs. After review by the World Changers Construction Coordinator, ten homes were identified meeting the requirements for help and were selected for work.  The youths were grouped into teams of 10-12 each with several adult team leaders.  The groups that came were from Tennessee, Missouri, North & South Carolina, and South Georgia.  A project coordinator oversees the teams and develops work schedules.  Each work group has several senior advisors and a professional construction manager monitors all work performed.  There is no cost to the home owner for the repairs.  The work performed consisted of four roofing jobs, where the old shingles were stripped, repairs made and new plywood, roofing felt and shingles nailed on.  There were two handicap ramps built that allowed the elderly homeowners unassisted access to their home for the first time. The work groups also built a fence, replaced rotted chimney structures, rotted siding, painted several homes, rebuilt rotted porches, decks and cleaned several yards. 

The Family Church provided housing for the week and several local churches brought lunches to each work group every day.  A party was organized for the participants in EE Robinson Park on Wednesday evening the 21st.   Food, drinks, music from several church bands, a hay ride and fellowship entertained the crowd.

There are many people and businesses to thank for their support and contributions to make the week a success.  First of all thanks to the Sugar Hill Housing Authority, for getting on board early and their enthusiasm for the project.  Their commitment of funds made the project possible and changed lives in our community.  Thanks go out to James Samford, Chairman, Rosanna Teta, Vice-Chairman, Barbara “BJ” Griffith, Secretary and Honey P. Valvo.   Water, snacks and food were donated by Buford Wal-Mart (2,000 bottles of water), Buford Wendy’s, Buford Kroger, Sugar Hill Publix, Suwanee Atlanta Bread Company and Chick-Fila.  The materials were supplied by Suwanee Lowes, Reed Lumber and Tapp Lumber.  Sugar Hill Sherwin Williams donated white house paint and discounted other colors.  Echols Glass replaced a broken window at no cost.   

This is the first World Changer project in Gwinnett County and hopefully not the last.  The World Changers Organization has already committed to return to Sugar Hill next year.