Around the outside of the house, everything was set up.
The scaffold towered next to the backside of the place. A few tables and a ladder in the front yard. And a group of high-school age students had began work painting the house. All of it was part of Prayer and Action, an organization for youth to come out into a community and help in different ways. The program is ran from the Catholic Diocese of Salina.
“It’s more about coming to the realization of what service is,” said Jerry Michaud, one of the adults helping and supervising the group. “It’s about this life is not really about us, it’s about other people and how do you love and serve your neighbor when your neighbor is in need and do something tangible. This is putting faith into action.”
Michaud, who is president of DSNWK in Hays, and his wife have been a part of working with youth in the Catholic church in Hays for 24 years. During the summer, Michaud takes vacation time to help with the Prayer in Action group.
The organization started 11 years ago as a way for the youth in the diocese to help others, which extends from Manhattan to the Colorado state line.
Each year the group meets in a different county associated in the diocese and does community work at different homes where the kids can help from doing things along the lines of cleaning up the yard to painting or whatever else is needed. Four different groups, totaling more than 30 high-school aged kids are working at different spots in Ellis County. It is the second time the group has been in Hays.
“As a high-schooler, it’s a great opportunity to help in the community and share your faith,” Laura Krug said. “It gets you ready for college so you can show your faith independently.”
Krug, who graduated from Thomas More Prep-Marian in May, is working with the group for the second year. She will attend Benedictine College in Atchison in the fall.
The organization isn’t just about having high school kids help in the community. The first week, which started June 5 for Prayer in Action, is dedicated to college-aged students doing the work. From there, the high school group takes over. When they are done in the Hays area, the group will move over to Junction City to serve around the community for three weeks in July.
“It’s really great we are in Hays this summer,” Luke Friess said. “It’s makes it kind of a nice drive for me.”
Friess, a graduate of Benedictine, is just starting the seminary in the diocese.
As part of the Prayer and Action, his title is the ‘Garage man’ picking up all the essentials and he sets up where the groups. work. A native of Hoxie, Friess has helped with the group through high school and college.
Along with work and experience the kids get, they also have the opportunity to work with youth from all across the western part of the state.
“It’s pretty fun. You get to meet new people,” said Esteban Rodriguez, a 15-year-old from Sharon Springs. “You get to meet the homeowner and see what they’re like. It’s nice to help them out.”