Service Over Self returns for the 29th summer – The Vicksburg Post

Service Over Self, a community outreach program sponsored by Crawford Street United Methodist Church, begins its 29th year of community service on June 20.

Service Over Self is a program designed to use volunteers to help others have a better life by having a better and safer place to live. The program takes place every summer and pairs teen volunteers who work with adults to improve homes in the Vicksburg area.

The program begins on the Monday following Father’s Day.

“We work from Monday to Friday; we have kids from all over town,” said Bob Moss, one of the program coordinators. “The base of operations is Crawford Street, but it’s a community operation. For the third year in a row, we have a guest group from First United Methodist Church in Starkville. They bring the equivalent of two teams. They are led by Maddie Jones-Burton; she is originally from Vicksburg.

Student volunteers are housed at Crawford Street United Methodist Church during the week-long program. Moss said the program will follow certain COVID protocols, “but they will be much more relaxed than last year. We were all masked on the sites, but we won’t be this year. »

Moss said the goal is to complete projects at 13 homes in the area.

“It’s our target; it depends on how many volunteers show up,” he said. “Adult volunteers are our greatest need; the children will come if the adults show up. We usually have enough, but we are looking for two or more adults at each site.

Service Over Self began on Crawford Street in the 1990s after Moss and Randy Stroud took 20 teenagers to Memphis, Tennessee, to participate in a similar program. Crawford Street has been the program’s sponsor since SOS began, and initially the program involved teenage boys from the church. Teens from other churches joined the program as it expanded.

The program ran under the same format until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We did SOS in 2020 but did it differently,” Moss said. “No one was housed and all the participants met on the site. We did our best; we were a little too high in the COVID pandemic protocols in 2020. We did our best to maintain social distancing and wear masks.

When Service Over Self was formed, Moss said, “We probably never thought much about that longevity. It was something you thought you had to do; you did it for a year, maybe two, three, and it worked out well. I never really thought about doing it all these years.

He believes the appeal of the program is that student volunteers “realize that it’s something they’re doing for their community and they love doing it. Working together, doing things they maybe don’t see their adults letting them do.

“We have them on construction sites and run them with good safety protocol,” Moss said. “But they get to do things – we kind of extend their expertise and that means the kids benefit from that, and then the adults, the volunteers are hugely fulfilled seeing the young people doing what they’re doing, giving themselves.”

As program manager, Moss added, “I can see everything. I can see owners reaping the benefits of what we do, see adults and children; see volunteers working in Crawford Street preparing meals. It is a very pleasant operation from my point of view.

“It takes a kind heart to see the call.”