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Christian organization brings hundreds of teen volunteers to Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – These days it’s not as easy for Marilyn Martlin to keep up her house, but the 86-year-old has some help this week.

Half-a-dozen teenaged volunteers from up and down the east coast are there with hammers, paintbrushes and more to give Martlin’s home some TLC.

"They're kind, they're loving and I'm grateful," she told News 3. "They've painted all my rooms."

It’s all made possible through an organization called Group Mission Trips, which spends the summer hosting camps for teens around the country who are looking to volunteer.

"We partner with local communities. In this case, we've partnered with Providence Presbyterian Church," said John Fulton, Camp Director for Group Mission Trips. "They've gone out and found residents that need some minor home repairs. It may be someone who can't afford or someone who just can't do the work themselves."

Martlin’s daughter found out about the program and signed up her mother. The crew visiting Martlin's home is one of 59 across Hampton Roads this week.

With the help of an adult chaperone, they’ve spent the majority of their time painting the inside and the outside of the house. Some of the teens are from Virginia, but most are from other states.

"You expect to be with all these people you know," said Alyse Scheller, a 17-year-old volunteer from Maryland. "And then you're put on a crew with no one you know so it's always kind of awkward the first couple days."

Throughout the week, not only do they become friends with each other, but with the people they're helping too.

"[Marilyn] joined us for lunch yesterday and devotions. She's just the sweetest old lady. We get to hang out with her. I mean, we're in her home, we're kind of invading her personal space," said Alyse Scheller, a 17-year-old from Maryland.

Group Missions Trips volunteers are in Hampton Roads through Friday.