Two boarding academies on both coasts of the United States recently received boosts from teams of volunteers from Maranatha Volunteers International (MVI). In Union Springs, in upstate New York, 48 people served at 100-year-old Union Springs Academy, primarily working in the boys’ and girls’ dorm. In Washington State, more than 40 volunteers renovated the girls’ dorm at Upper Columbia Academy, located in Spangle.
At Union Springs, volunteers painted the girls’ dorm and cleaned the dining room and kitchen floors. In the boys’ dorm, volunteers converted two rooms into a staff apartment and painted the downstairs basement. They completed electrical work on both dorms, replacing old light switches and installing new lighting. Outside, volunteers dug up dead trees and replaced them with plants and flowers. They also trimmed weeds and constructed new garden beds.
In the Upper Columbia girls’ dorm, volunteers renovated the entire third floor and six rooms of the first floor. The rooms had become rundown after decades of heavy use, which had prompted some families to do their own renovations when moving a student in for school year. On this project, volunteers removed built-in furniture, ripped out old carpet, and painted the walls of the dorm rooms and a recreation room. They also painted the hallways and patched up sections of the walls.
MVI project leader Cathie Clark said she was impressed by the chemistry that her group quickly formed at Upper Columbia. “There was a lot of camaraderie and laughter,” Clark said. “Our long-time volunteers and a missionary pilot shared a lot of amazing stories of how God works — the [younger volunteers] were spellbound. I feel like everyone was very in-tune [spiritually], and that’s probably why it worked so well.”
Each year, Maranatha works with organizations in the United States and Canada to provide volunteer labor for construction or renovation projects at summer camps and retreat centers, schools, and churches. Work ranges from renovations of existing buildings to new construction and saves thousands of dollars in labor costs.