Students start summer break with service

Sacred Heart camp

Louisville, KY. (WHAS11) -- School is out for the summer, but students at Sacred Heart are already spending their time serving others with a unique and inspiring project.

About three and half hours and 320 miles physically separate Kermit, West Virginia and Louisville, Kentucky, but that distance is no match for the disparity between the two places.

"It's really quite near and close to us, and we're kind of oblivious to all of the issues that are there right next door to us in West Virginia,” camp coordinator Sarah Schubert said.

Many Appalachian towns struggle with poverty and a lack of resources. Kermit is no exception.

"When I was there, I learned that, in the summer, there's not much to do there for the kids,” camp coordinator Lilly Parker said.

That didn't sit well with Parker and Schubert. The two just graduated from Sacred Heart, but spent their senior year making sure this summer would be a different story.

"It just makes me so happy to see the kids here. It's just so surreal,” Parker said.

Years ago, Sacred Heart started an annual Christmas toy drive for the kids from Kermit. Inspired by their time in West Virginia, Schubert and Parker wanted to take the partnership to the next level. They hosted an art camp there last summer and raised enough money and resources to relocate to Louisville.

"When we were driving, they were like wow, y'all really have skyscrapers here? So, it's just great to see them experiencing new things and knowing that they do have the ability to do great things, they just have to be exposed to the stuff,” Parker said. “When we were at Churchill Downs and we were learning about horse racing, one little girl raised her hand and she was like ‘I always thought this was make believe. I never knew this actually happened. So, that was just oh my gosh, they really don’t get to see this kind of a thing.”

"It's a lot different from Louisville. Louisville is big. Kermit is not nearly as big as Louisville. I see all kinds of stuff here that I don't see in Kermit,” camper Chris Neubig said. “I think it’s pretty cool because they got to come down to where we live and see how it is, and now we get to come here where they live and see how it is.”

15 kids are spending their week in Louisville, getting exposed to experiences they might not otherwise have.

"Skating, I'm a pro. I'm really good at it. I just learned that.” Neubig said.

From skating to a Bats Game to a trip to Churchill Downs, the week’s agenda is packed full of unique activities.

"All we had to do was show up. They didn't have to do all of this stuff for us, but they did,” camper Katie Estepp said.

This week represents a generous act of kindness, but the ones behind it said the real gift is what they get in return.

"It's definitely made me more accepting and understanding and understanding that the kids there can do the same things kids here can do, they just don't have the same opportunities,” Parker said.

"It's definitely made me really thankful for all of the opportunities I have, but also, it's made me want others to have those same opportunities,” Schubert said. "It's definitely made me a lot more appreciative, for sure. It's opened my eyes a lot to things that just I take for granted.”

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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