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Mission group spruces up downtown
Courtney Lavvorn nervously held a power drill in position Tuesday as she prepared to tighten down the final part of a new picnic bench.

"Go! Go! Go, Courtney," friends cheered her on as she completed the bench in Urbana Park, off Tillman Avenue, in Brunswick.

Lavvorn was part of a work crew made up of 20 other middle and high school students from Archer, Fla., and Enterprise, Ala. They were among a group of some 80 students who traveled from across the country to Brunswick this week to volunteer for a variety of projects ranging from painting houses to landscaping.

The students are associated with World Changers, a mission group that organizes domestic mission trips.

Six crews were working at five work sites throughout the city Tuesday. Most labored to repair substandard housing and revitalize public parks.

All gave up their spring break vacation from school to work in the community.

Lavvorn and her group were in Urbana Park to improve the public space, which had fallen into disrepair.

The group's contribution: four new benches and two picnic tables.

"I like how we go into the community," Lavvorn said. "I feel like we give something back and give hope."

It's just the lesson Judy Blackwell of the First Baptist Church of Archer in Florida hopes the experience teaches the students - that and recognizing the needs that many communities in the country face.

"Really it's about trying to teach our children to give something back," Blackwell said.

* Reporter Nikki Wiley writes about government, business and other local topics. Contact her at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 321.

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