National News

NeighborWorks Improving Neighborhoods in Lackawanna County

Posted July 25

— A housing service in Scranton is teaming up with kids in youth and church groups from all over the northeastern part of the country to help improve the neighborhoods of Lackawanna County.

"My house looks better now than it did when I moved in. I told them that. They did beautiful work. They were so prestige about how they made it. It's really nice," said Dorothy Kolosinsky.

She has been waiting a long time for her home on South Main Avenue in Scranton to look like it did Monday when the project was done.

NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania helps disabled or low-income people in Lackawanna County. Every year, during NeighborWorks Week, volunteers from all over work on several houses around the neighborhood in need for some major improvements.

"It makes other people happy, and other people's happiness makes me happy. I love good vibes," said Thomas Weatherington Jr. The 18-year-old is from Wake Forest, North Carolina.

With more than 300 other volunteers, Weatherington has been staying on the University of Scranton's campus during NeighborWorks Week. Most of the volunteers are high school students ranging from 14 to 18 years old. The volunteers working at the house on South Main Avenue in Scranton spent the weekend painting and also forming bonds with each other and the homeowner they were helping out.

You never expect someone who is a complete stranger to just open their home up to you and let alone feed you, which she did. It was awesome," Weatherington said.

The feeling was mutual. Kolosinsky says she'll never forget her group of volunteers, and she even let them leave a little mark on her property to remember them by. All of the kids left their handprints with paint on the front sidewalk of Kolosinsky's house.

"They give you so much hope. They are so fantastic. What a great program they have," Kolosinksky said.

NeighborWorks Week started on Saturday and these last few days, volunteers have worked on 42 houses, including about 30 in Scranton.

"It's beautiful. I helped paint, and I helped make it look more beautiful," Kolosinsky's grandson Rico said.

"The kids walk away from this seeing what people really need, and a lot of times they're able to take that experience back. It gives them hope, the homeowner hope, so it's a great fit all around," said NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania's CEO Jesse Ergott.

This was the seventh annual NeighborWorks Week in Lackawanna County.

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