Bill and Diana Bessette can’t say enough to thank the teenagers and adults who helped paint their house on Modoc Street.
The TeenServe organization descended upon the Bessette home this summer, taking great care to repaint the house to the owners’ exact specifications, while turning it into one of the best looking homes on the block.
TeenServe is a division of Cross-Walk Ministries Inc. Cross-Walk Ministries Inc. is a nonprofit corporation registered in the state of Wisconsin and has been in existence since 1985. TeenServe is dedicated to communicating to youths the knowledge of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, equipping and challenging them to share their faith in Jesus Christ with others. TeenServe participants work together to care for the problems of others. Groups of teens and adults are assigned work projects that allow them to help those in need while practicing servanthood.
The Bessettes are both disabled. Though they both recognized that their home was in desperate need of a new paint job, neither of them was physically able to tackle the project themselves. Their finances also posed a hindrance to the project, as they knew it would be hard to come up with enough money for the paint, let alone the cost of hiring someone to apply it.
“We heard about TeenServe while visiting a Ruby’s Pantry food distribution in Clintonville,” Diana recalled. “We decided we would sign up. We knew the house really needed to be painted, but with both of us being disabled, our physical and financial limitations made it impossible to do it on our own.”
The Bessettes were interviewed in April and they were selected as a primary home during the TeenServe work camp at the end of June.
“I was so happy I cried right when they told me on the phone,” Diana said. “Then, I told Bill. I was so happy and crying tears of joy – he couldn’t understand what I was saying, at first!”
A group of five youths and two adults worked on the home for five days during a week of beautiful weather but were unable to get the whole job done. One of the leaders made a commitment to see the job done and with the help of some 16 other volunteers were able to complete the job before the end of August.
Diana said she got to pick out the colors – Parking Meter Gray and White Stallion for the trim – and the house was painted to their exact requests.
“They scraped off the old paint, put on primer coats of paint, and applied the new colors. They took off all the storm windows, and repainted the ones that needed it,” Diana said. “They did such a beautiful job! Each of the teenagers was so kind and very polite. The adults were also wonderful to work with. It was nice to get to know them all.”
Bill said it was a great experience to have the teams working on their home.
“They started every day with prayer,” he said. “It was just so nice. They never argued, and they worked hard every day. I think it was a great thing – these kids are learning teamwork, and I wish there were more opportunities for kids to be involved in TeenServe. All the kids work together and they can tackle just about any project.”
Once the project was nearly completed, the Bessettes were invited to a spaghetti dinner at New London High School for all of the homeowners that TeenServe had worked with. After the dinner, an appointment was made for a crew to come out with a high-lift to finish the tough-to-reach parts of the house.
“Our house went from one of the worst looking homes on the block to one of the best looking ones,” Bill said. “It didn’t cost us anything – these people just wanted to help.”
“We learned that there are people who will help you when you are down,” Diana said. “If it wasn’t for those teenagers, our house would still be in shambles. We appreciate everyone who worked on our house to make the dream of having our house painted come true.”