West Columbia Exit Agape Real Estate Supports Salkehatchie Summer Youth Program

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2010 at 3:16 am

March 22nd, 2010 10:10 PM

I am standing in a room surrounded by crazy people. It was the summer of 2008. I had just returned from a tour of three extremely dilapidated homes. I knew that it would not be possible to complete the planned repairs to these homes in a week.

I had volunteered to help with a summer youth program called Salkehatchie. Some of you may be familiar with the program. My intention was to have my13 year old son involved. I figured it would be a great experience for him. He would be working with kids his age. I wanted him to turn off the computer for a week and join the real world. The purpose of the program was to repair homes for the poor and elderly.

I told Mike, the minister in charge of the program, that I would bring my son to the church early each morning so that he could go with his group to their assigned house. I had also agreed to lend a hand for a few hours if they needed me. I figured I would be able to run an errand or two for the group, maybe help throw some paint on a wall, maybe help clean trash out of a yard. I really did not have the time to get very involved.

About a week before the start of the program, Mike asked if I would like to go tour the three houses that had been chosen for our area. He said that the tour would be on Sat morning when the kids were scheduled to arrive from Greenville. I said of course, I am in real estate. I love looking at houses.

Now it is Saturday morning in early July, twenty five teenagers and ten adults have just piled off of a church bus, and are standing on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing but sand and scrub oak in every direction. The temperature is already in the nineties. It is the kind of day in South Carolina that you start to sweat the minute you walk outside.

From where I am standing there is no house in sight. Mike starts to walk into the brush and our whole group just follows him in. After walking a short distance our group is now standing in front of a mobile home that is in serious danger of being swallowed up by its surroundings. Mike knocks on the door.

The front door opens and a woman that appears to be in her forties steps out onto a wooden front porch. The porch looks like it may collapse at any second. She has food stains on her blouse and is not comfortable being stared at by our large group. Mike introduced her to our group. Her name was Mary.

We are invited to walk through the home to have a look at what repairs will be required. Everywhere I looked as I walked around the trailer had another problem. I walked through the front door and the heat and smell from inside the trailer almost knocked me over. Apparently the AC was not working. The carpet was filthy and appeared to be the source of the smell.

The inside of the home was in as bad shape as the outside. A small group of kids had gathered in the guest bathroom. There was a large hole in the floor that went through to the ground. Mary was telling the volunteers how an opossum would come up through the hole from time to time. I was really starting to doubt my decision to get involved with this project.

The next two houses we toured that morning had just as many required repairs as the first house. When we finally returned to the church, Mike called a meeting of the adults.

Mike read the list of repairs planned for each house. I am thinking there must be some kind of back up plan. There must be a gang of real contactors that go in at night and finish everything that the kids will start during the day.

Mike asked us if we had a preference as to which house we wanted to work on. I was hoping none of them was going to be one of the choices. I looked around the room at the other adult volunteers. I expected to see some other expressions of disbelief. What I saw was a kind of calm determination within the group. I wanted to yell. ARE YOU PEOPLE CRAZY? This thing can not be done. I have done house renovation. Every time you attempt to repair one thing it exposes three other problems.

It was at that point that I realized my initial plan of sort of helping from the sidelines was not going to be an option. The people in that room were depending on each other to be 100% committed to the project. The adult volunteers from Greenville had taken time off from their jobs to come to Columbia to work in the scorching July heat and than sleep on the floor of the church at night.

Mike probably knew that when he invited me I would eventually see the light. I knew at that moment that the right choice for me was to commit to the project. I had not made any arrangements about being absent from my job, or any other preparation, but none of that mattered. The most important thing I could do in the next week was right in front of me.

The next five days of my life were completely consumed by this thing called Salkahatchie. The group of strangers came together and worked as a team to accomplish the impossible. I would never have believed how meaningful this experience was going to be to me.

What was taking place during the week was more than just repairing homes. We were connecting with people, changing attitudes and transforming lives. I like to think that we made life a little better for the people that lived in the homes. Maybe gave them some hope for the future. I had the added benefit of reconnecting with my teenage son.

Sometimes when you least expect it you find exactly what you are searching for. I did not plan on being personally involved in the Salkahatchie program. When I saw the horrible conditions the people were living in. It became important to respond to that need. The size of the job scared me. I could not think how it would be possible to finish the homes in time.

But each day our group grew a little stronger, and each day we were able to accomplish more. It is amazing the amount of work 15 sets of hands that are focused on a task can accomplish in a day. We had created leverage by teaching our young volunteers how to paint, lay a floor, or how to use a hammer.

Exit Agape Real Estate Services is a proud supporter of the 2010 Salkehatchie Summer Youth Program in West Columbia. Mentoring, coaching, and the improvement of the overall team are all philosophies that EXIT REALTY is committed to. EXIT REALTY believes the agent is the most valuable asset of any real estate company. Creating a future for the agent is our top priority.

Joe Nester - Exit Broker in Charge West Columbia South Carolina.West Columbia SC Real Estate, Columbia SCJoe Nester Realtor. EXIT Agape Real Estate Services is ready to serve your real estate needs in Lexington, West Columbia, Irmo, Forest Acres, and Columbia South Carolina. Our experienced agents have all the right tools to properly market your listing or to search for your perfect new home. We strive to exceed your expectations on every transaction. (803) 730-7269 or (803) 454-3504.

West Columbia SC Real Estate for Sale – Properties for Sale in West Columbia South Carolina. We also provide you with Advanced Market Segments such as West Columbia Startup Homes, West Columbia Median Homes, West Columbia Upscale Homes, West Columbia Luxury Homes, and West Columbia Homesites and Land for Sale in West Columbia SC. Surrounding Towns included are West Columbia, Irmo, Columbia, Lexington, Lexington County, Cayce, Gaston, Swansea as well as niche communities: Agape Village, Charwood, Churchill Heights, Edenwood, Forest Acres, Moss Creek, Quail Hollow, Saluda Gardens, Saluda River Club, Saluda Terrace, Shadblow, The Avenues, and Westover Acres. Exit Agapé Real Estate Services is your West Columbia SC and South Carolina Senior Real Estate Specialists. (803) 454-3504 


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