Massachusetts, USA – In a society where consumerism and the “me” driven commercialization of the holidays have driven most teens to think of only themselves. However, there still shine beacons of light. Out in wilderness of the teen jungle there are more teens than Disney and mainstream media give credit to for their maturity, concern, and activism in helping others.
In Michigan a group of well coordinated Chaldean teens continue to make a big difference to those in need. Better known as CT-Squared or Chaldean Teens Coming Together the group of teenagers put their faith into practice. Unlike the stereotypical teens splashed across TV newscasts or written about in belittling terms, this group silently works to help others. The group of middle and high school aged volunteers serve breakfast, help feed the hungry, collect food donations for food banks, organize family outings, fundraises for those in need, and actively serves the community.
Another sparkle of impressive deeds and godly light pours out across the great lakes. Ashley Bolis, 17, a Junior at Lowell Catholic High School in Massachusetts is dedicated to keeping folks warm in the winter. Bolis founded Project Warm & Fuzzy, a program where she collects new coats, hats, scarves, gloves, socks and baby items to donate to Lazarus House, a shelter for the homeless.
Bolis has been collecting clothing for the homeless since she was in middle school. Far from friends and never forgetting the lessons she learned about the rewards of helping others. Bolis demonstrates that any person, young or old, can make a difference. On Friday, Bolis received a Christ Our Servant Award for her contributions to the shelter in helping the homeless. .
Project Warm & Fuzzy has already established impressive contracts with the Women of Riverside Assembly of God Church where they knit sweaters and jackets all year round. Bolis has also recruited the help of a Brownie Troop at Timony School, a nearby elementary school to collect baby items.
The young teen routinely makes announcements in her church and places reminders in the church bulletin. Following a similar strategy as the Chaldean Teens Coming Together group Bolis places boxes in front of the church enterance where people can drop off their donations.
In the first year there Bolis collected 300 articles of clothing; the second year, 1,600; the third year was 3,000; and last year, 5,000.
Many would agree that this is more than enough for a teenager. Not Bolis. She says more can be done. The young teen also makes time to serve food at the Good Shepherd Center, part of Lazarus House, with her mother and grandmother. The family also helps out together at the Lazarus House food pantry.
When asked what she learned from being so involved and starting her Wram and Fuzzy program Bolis says, “I learned that anything that seems impossible, can be possible.”
When you ask parents of Chaldean teens what they find most impressive. Many say the maturity, understanding, and responsibility shown by their teens after being involved in programs like Chaldean Teens Coming Together.
The parents say programs like CT-Squared teach their kids that it is cool to help others and how important it is to make the right choices in life. Parents relish the transformation of their young teens. Parents are amazed at the difference a few summers can make to help shed off the notorious selfishness, egos, and attitudes of the common teen. A gift, they say, the whole family enjoys.