Leadership Blair County Youth help out at Joshua House

Earlier this month, 21 area youths gathered to lend a helping hand at Joshua House.
Leadership Blair County Youth is a program of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, created to assist in the development of youth to become leaders within their schools, communities and the entire county.
The mission of this program is to develop leadership potential, educate the students about Blair County’s heritage, culture and workforce opportunities and instill a sense of civic pride and community involvement in these students.
Leadership Blair County Youth participants learn through involvement and experience. One of the goals of this program is to teach students that they have the capability to make a difference in their communities.
This year there are 22 tenth grade students, from schools within Blair County, participating in the program. The students represent Tyrone, Bellwood, Bishop Guilfoyle, Central, Altoona, Hollidaysburg, Williamsburg and Claysburg-Kimmel.
Students apply to be a part of the program in ninth grade, filling out an application and completing an essay. Up to 24 teens are chosen to represent all the schools within the county.
The group first meets at a mandatory retreat in July, followed by monthly meetings, ending in May. The group also completes one service project each year.
This year when it came time to select a service project, the students all gave their ideas. Jonathan Bishop of Tyrone suggested helping Joshua House. Members agreed it would be a worthwhile project and on April 12 the group gathered at Joshua House, ready to work.
“We wanted to do something to help people our age,” said Mary Foor of Bishop Guilfoyle, on why the group chose Joshua House.
When they arrived, students were greeted by Jim Kilmartin, director of Joshua House, who was ready with a list of chores that needed to be completed.
While there, students mopped and sponged the floors including the kitchen and bathrooms. They cleaned windows, heaters and the stairways, along with the back patio and took all the garbage out to the dumpster.
Kilmartin was excited to see the students get involved.
After working hard all morning, the group had completed their tasks early. That gave them time for a short break to play basketball and hang out before the next round of work began.
Lunch for the group was donated by several area restaurants.