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Makayla Holladay, 12, of Decatur Baptist Church washes the exterior of a home on Walnut Street Northwest on Monday morning.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Makayla Holladay, 12, of Decatur Baptist Church washes the exterior of a home on Walnut Street Northwest on Monday morning.

Metamorphosis
in Decatur

Organization coordinates mission project for 300 volunteers in city neighborhoods

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com 340-2441

Residents in the Memorial Drive and Vine Street neighborhoods woke up Monday to the sounds of hammers, saws and weed trimmers. Who is to blame, or thank, for this construction noise? Metamorphosis.

Tyler Brain, 12, of Central Baptist Church swings a sledgehammer at a concrete pad on Walnut Street Northwest.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Tyler Brain, 12, of Central Baptist Church swings a sledgehammer at a concrete pad on Walnut Street Northwest.
Metamorphosis, a start-up volunteer organization in Decatur, has coordinated community groups for a local mission project this week.

Temperatures in the 90s may dampen the spirits of many outdoor workers, but not for Metamorphosis' volunteers. The 300 volunteers are energetic and excited about the upcoming week.

'A lot of energy'

Fred Bueto, Decatur First Baptist Church student minister and organizer of Metamorphosis, said "there's a good feeling here, a lot of energy is in the air." Gabe Ross, youth pastor at Central Baptist church, added that "the volunteers are excited ... they are willing and glad to help those in need."

The opportunity to make a difference in their own community motivated many volunteers to participate. Terry Moore, a parent coordinator, volunteered because he feels the work accomplished this week will benefit a neighborhood in his own city. "I am a proponent of local mission work. ... There is a lot of work that we can do locally," he said.

Jasmine Shackelford and Shannon Moore donated their time this week in order to connect more with the community. Moore said that "helping people do what they might not be able to do by themselves" prompted her to volunteer. "I came out to help others and to build a better relationship with my community," she said.

And relationships are forming between the volunteers and the residents — relationships that have been in construction for several weeks.

Prior to the clearing of the first bush and the pounding of the first nail, site coordinators visited the homes selected for repairs and met with the families.

"Project coordinators and city officials did a lot of work before we showed up this week," Bueto said. The previous meetings with the families resulted in a community that is excited about the construction, Bueto said.

Randall Jordan, a resident whose home is undergoing repair, applauded the work of the volunteers. "I think they're doing a great job," Jordan said. "They're getting work done in a week that I have been trying to get done for 10 years."

Optimistic future

Jordan is optimistic about the future of the community after the week ends. "I hope this makes the area more beautiful. I hope the neighbors keep it up and keep our neighborhood clean," Jordan said.

Nearly 20 homes are on the agenda to be repaired this week. The list of homes that need repair increases by the day. Bueto's notebook, which listed the materials and supplies he needed, now includes the names of residents who have asked him to work on their homes. Even though Bueto wishes he could repair all of the houses, he isn't authorized to make those decisions. Those decisions rest with the city's Planning Department.

"The city selected the homes and provided the grant money that will pay for all of the materials," Bueto said. Coordinating their efforts with the city expanded their vision of the needs of the community, Bueto and Ross said.

Ross said, "We help our own church members because we know what their needs are. ... We are able to show our community we care about their needs."

Bueto agreed: "By combining efforts with the city we know what they community needs are."

Once the week does end and the volunteers pack up their materials, what happens next for Metamorphosis? Bueto said the project's success will be evaluated at the end of the week but the possibilities are endless.

"This mission could turn into an annual event, or we could set aside weekends throughout the year," Bueno said. "We want to continue this ministry, but we also want to make sure that we meet the needs of the city."

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