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Getting out, helping others: this would be a good summation of what happens during the annual Men's NetWork WORK DAY, now in its fifth year in 2017. This year nearly 30 men's groups participated in a wide range of projects. Their work involved tasks like roadside and spring cleanups, giving assistance to the elderly, handicap ramp construction, painting, digging, sweeping, hauling, building, working at a school or church, helping people move, and more.

While all jobs undertaken are beneficial, we were especially interested in those efforts that had an "outreach" component to them. This was probably most easily achieved when groups worked off their church campus and even more when the recipient of their effort had a minimal or zero affiliation with a church.

A great example of this is from the men's group from St. John's Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia. In the words of Rodney Smith, here's what they did:

"St. John's Lutheran Church Men's Work Day involved 23 men from different churches serving the Alexandria, Virginia, community through projects helping the Carpenter's Shelter for the Homeless, Franconia Elementary School, and the Early Childhood Education Center at St. John Lutheran Church (SJLC). The purpose of the event was to give back to the community by assisting other organizations whose mission is to educate and assist others. The Gospel tells us to serve and spread the message of Good News. The group met at SJLC for a continental breakfast, devotion, and final instructions before heading out to serve the community. The men did a great job completing these three projects:

"Carpenter's Shelter for the Homeless: Two teams tackled projects ranging from lawn beautification to constructing and painting seven bookcases. Myra Cruz, Volunteer Coordinator for Carpenter's Shelter, stated: 'We are thankful that they spent Saturday morning improving the outside of the shelter, making it more welcoming for our clients! Also, our clients will really appreciate the bookcases they built, something very useful while they are in shelter, and something to take with them to their new homes.'

"Franconia Elementary School: The team turned six garden beds providing the sixth graders a place to plant corn and flowers as they learn not only how things grow, but the care required for a fertile harvest. Ms. Martha McCash, student information assistant, directed and provided insight of the school's goals as well as shared her knowledge of herbs planted in the garden.

"Early Childhood Education Center: The team undertook numerous duties to improve the overall appearance of the children's playground and church building. They painted the playground's chain linked fence, the church sacristy and the front portion of the stage located in the fellowship hall. Mulch was spread, the playground equipment power-washed and windows cleaned."

Nice job to the men from St. John's for their widespread outreach efforts! Have a WORK DAY story to share? Send us a brief project summary and pictures in an e-mail to us at mensnetwork@lhm.org.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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