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Thomasville Magazine / SPRING 2013

BE A LIGHT In your own Backyard

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s ard volunteer Project Backytables for the refinished for Children and r sh Va ti Cente Dining Hall. s ie il m Fa

Volunteers making prepack meals at Kids Against Hu aged for over 3,000 people in nger Thomasville and Tallahaneed in ssee.

WRITTEN BY AMY BOLAND & BRYAN WATT


Thomasville Magazine / SPRING 2013 15

d children Volunteers an together at enjoying gamesGi rls Club. d an the Boys

Donated clothing being given out at Trinity Anglic an Church as one of the Proj Backyard Service ect Sites.


Thomasville Magazine / SPRING 2013

PROJECT BACKYARD

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is a service initiative started by the local ministry Inside Out Nation that provides monthly opportunities for Christians of all ages, races, denominations, and churches to unite together through serving those in need in their own backyard.

Volunteer Laura Hopper with a child

W

hen you hear the term “mission work,” it is easy to associate it with service that is done overseas or outside the walls of your community. The truth is, however, there are many people who are suffering in our very own backyard. This is not a new idea, by any means. In fact, there are numerous churches and service organizations in Thomasville and Thomas County that are doing great work every day to help those in need throughout their community. Although many of these churches and organizations provide ways for individuals living in Thomasville to serve, there were very few organized opportunities for the collective body of Christ to unite together through serving others. It was this need that ultimately led to the launch of “Project Backyard”. Each month Project Backyard partners with local service organizations, churches, and ministries to organize and facilitate projects that will best serve needs of the community.

“Service has always been an important part of the ministry of Inside Out Nation since our very first event in 2008, where we partnered with Salvation Army to provide and distribute over 1000 canned goods to needy families in Thomasville,” said Inside Out Nation’s Executive Director, Bryan Watt, “It is our hope that Project Backyard will encourage and inspire Christians towards unity and ultimately lead to the


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On Thanksgiving day over 170 volunteers gathered to serve lunch to those in need. realization that our impact is greater together than apart.” At Inside Out Nation’s annual event last year, they partnered with Hands on Thomas County to host their first large-scale service project. More than 300 volunteers came out to serve at 9 different project locations throughout Thomasville. “Because of the success of this project, we were approached by several leaders from Thomasville’s FCA, Thomas University’s Goalline Ministries, as well as local youth pastors, who expressed a desire to see more organized opportunities in Thomasville for Christians to come together to serve in their own community. This was the spark that lit the flame for Project Backyard,” said Project Backyard Coordinator, Amy Boland. At their first Project Backyard event on September 22, 2012, around 40 people came out to serve in 4 project locations throughout Thomasville. For their November “Thanksgiving” project (in partnership with Word Doers Ministries), more than 175 volunteers gave up part of their Thanksgiving Day to help prepare and distribute over 1000 hot meals to individuals and families throughout the community. By the end of January, Project Backyard had reached its all-time high of 550 volunteers, when they partnered with Disciple Now in Thomasville. These volunteers, representing 12 different churches, participated in 25 service projects in 15 different locations throughout Thomasville and the surrounding areas. Some of these projects included: preparing and packaging over 3200 meals for people in need in Thomasville, distributing a weeks-worth of food to 400 families, serving over 400 lunches, helping facilitate games for more than 200 children, unloading and organizing canned goods for the Salvation Army, Helping with landscaping at Paradise park, MacIntyre Park, Circle C Mobile Estates, Hands and Hearts for

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Thomasville Magazine / SPRING 2013

At The Salvation Army volunteers sorted and organized canned goods.

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Teddy Kearney about to enjoy snack time with children of the Boys and Girls Club.


“My first time serving with Project Backyard was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. For me, it’s about people coming together to help those who are less fortunate. I see Project Backyard becoming a national phenomenon that inspires Christians all over the country to get involved in serving those in need in their own backyard,” said Project Backyard volunteer, Taylor Bodiford.

Horses, and the Vashti Center, painting a church, sanding and refinishing 16 lunch tables for the Vashti Center, and distributing clothes to those in need at Trinity Anglican Church…to name a few. “It was an incredible weekend and so inspiring to see this generation rise up and make a difference in the lives of those in need in their own community,” says Boland. One of the organizations that Project Backyard has partnered with since the beginning is Thomasville’s Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club. Each month, volunteers spend several hours with the children facilitating games, reading stories, and leading songs. “When these kids get to play with, laugh with, and talk to somebody that doesn’t look like them or talk like them… that’s a powerful moment,” said Boys and Girls Club Youth Center Director, Kimberly Armstrong, “When you give of your possessions, you give little, but when you give of yourself, that’s when you give most. It’s about reaching out and letting people know that somebody cares and that they are not alone in this life.” Project Backyard is not just for the people who are being served, it is also for those who are serving. Shortly after launching Project Backyard in Thomasville, Inside Out Nation partnered with Downtown Community Church in Tallahassee to start Project Backyard for the Tallahassee community. “The response we have received from the Tallahassee community has been inspiring. Most people have a desire to get involved in helping others, but often times they don’t know how or where to start. What I love about Project Backyard is that it helps connect people with local ministries and organizations that are serving ‘the least of these,’ and provides monthly opportunities for believers to put their faith into action through service,” said Downtown Community Church Pastor, Ben Kaempfer.

Thomasville Magazine / SPRING 2013

Project Backyard volunteer playing with a child at Circle C Mobile Home Estates.

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“Every volunteer who serves receives a t-shirt that reads ‘BE A LIGHT in your own backyard.’ The message of this t-shirt comes from Isaiah 58:10 that states, ‘If you spend yourself in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.’ (Isaiah 58:10 NIV) As Christians, when we come together our light is so much brighter than any light that we could shine on our own,” says Bryan Watt. So, consider the possibilities of letting your light shine in your community through Project Backyard If you would like to get involved you can visit their website at www.projectbackyard.com or “Like” them on facebook at www.facebook.com/projectbackyard.

Profile for Inside Out Nation

Project Backyard (Thomasville Magazine)  

Project Backyard is featured in the March edition of the Thomasville Magazine. Check it out!

Project Backyard (Thomasville Magazine)  

Project Backyard is featured in the March edition of the Thomasville Magazine. Check it out!

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