Making an IMPACT

Feb. 20-26, 2003
Making an IMPACT
FAYETTEVILLE — When high school teens get together, good things can happen, especially at Immaculate Conception Parish in Fayetteville, where a group has been formed to serve the people in need, with no credit or service hours. These kids just want to serve their neighbors as Jesus called each person to do. The group adopted the name of IMPACT (IC teens Making, Praying, Acting, Committing and Transforming.)

Susie Ritz, youth minister at Immaculate Conception Church, said the teens came up with the idea for IMPACT on their own. They formed a leadership team to direct their efforts and to seek out funds for upcoming projects. Caitlin Canals, one of the members of IMPACT, is very pleased about the program and how it will help others. “I’m so excited about IMPACT,” Caitlin said. “We have such enthusiastic people involved, especially Susie, and we all work together very well because we want to get things done in our community.”

IMPACT’s first projects took place on January 25. One team went to the Samaritan Center in Syracuse and served a dinner there, while the other worked at the Brady Faith Center. This second IMPACT team is helping to reorganize and paint a mural there.

Canals said she has really enjoyed working on the Brady Faith project. “My group went to Brady Faith and painted a mural in their main room where they have Sunday School for the kids,” Caitlin said. “We painted a colorful rainbow. The best part was when after we finished, a few kids came back to see it. We hope to continue to fix that back room up into a study center for kids to use afterschool.” LeeAnn Miller, another IMPACT member, said the experience at the Brady Father Center was “truly amazing.”

“Knowing that we were doing this for God and that it would make someone’s day a little better made it even more worthwhile,” LeeAnn said. “And though things get hectic, they always seem to have a way of working out, and I know that that’s God’s way of helping us through so that we can do our work and carry on His message.” The IMPACT group is currently planning a coffee house gathering and other service projects. Caitlin said the first one held in October was a big success.

“We planned a coffee house to jump start our group and get more teens involved. Between getting bands to play at the coffee house, organizing food, raffle prizes and showing off the pictures of Brady Faith Center, we really had our hands full,” said Caitlin. “But somehow everything came together wonderfully and kids got interested in helping us with our cause.” LeeAnn said she is excited about the future of IMPACT. “I really hope that we can gather more steam and do even more projects within the community. For kids who want to get involved, this is a great way to serve the community and have a lot of fun,” LeeAnn explained. “The meetings aren’t mandatory, but everyone comes anyway because we’re all great friends and have a lot of laughs.”

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