"It started with just two youth pastors in the area and a handful of teenagers that wanted to make a difference in the city, and each year it’s just grown more and more,” said Kathy Roeters.
Twenty-seven years later, more than 1,000 volunteers from 44 churches take part in the week-long Flower City Work Camp. The students stay the night at Browncroft Community Church in Penfield and Hope Lutheran Church in Greece, but their days are filled with worship, friendship and service.
"The essence of the Christian faith is us demonstrating Christ’s love in our world and that’s what the kids are doing,” said Roeters.
"The motto of Flower City is that the city might see Jesus and we're hoping that we can show God’s love by our actions and what we do," said Hunter Beck, a volunteer.
"Definitely eye opening, especially since a lot of them are newbies, this is a lot of first year people in our house so it was interesting walking in,” said volunteer Alissa Catanzaro.
"They fixing up my house good because my ceiling was falling down. Squirrels was falling out of my ceiling,” said Linda Washington, a homeowner. “Fixing the wall in the bathroom; the kitchen, fixin’ the kitchen."
Washington’s home is one of 60 in the city of Rochester that Flower City Work Camp volunteers will be improving over the course of the week. Everything that goes into these city homes has either been donated or paid for by the cost to attend the camp.
"The Lord has blessed me. I want to thank them for what they’re doing,” Washington said.
By the end of the week, Washington will have a new kitchen ceiling, cabinets, windows, and freshly painted walls. Volunteers hope her fear of squirrels and insects falling from the ceiling will be replaced by faith.
"I love when we finish these weeks because they are so thankful and everything but we’re really the thankful ones who get to come serve and God has blessed us all so much,” said Catanzaro.