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Children's home gets big gift from service group

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Julia Falcon, For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Every weekend in October, the Young Men's Service League of Argyle worked to refurbish and built new things at Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home. 

The children's home is the only emergency children's shelter in Denton County, and also houses foster youth and offers affordable housing for single-parent families who need help with living arrangements. 

The Young Men's Service League brings mothers and their high school-aged sons together to create and work on community service projects. The Argyle chapter was formed in 2015. 

Christian Burkhart, left, Sylvia Burkhart, right, and CJ Massey, back, with the Argyle chapter of the Young Men's Service League, help construct bleachers for use at Cumberland's Presbyterian Children's Home on Saturday.DRC
Christian Burkhart, left, Sylvia Burkhart, right, and CJ Massey, back, with the Argyle chapter of the Young Men's Service League, help construct bleachers for use at Cumberland's Presbyterian Children's Home on Saturday.
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One of the first things the volunteers did was paint a therapy room — a small project with a meaningful effect for the kids, said Mary Dickerman, development operations for Cumberland. 

Cumberland's property covers 17 acres, and hiring workers to clean it up can become costly. So the volunteers also cleaned up flower beds and built bleachers for residents at the home. 

"It is like taking care of a farm, so having them come in and clean up, redo flower beds — it beautifies the area," Dickerman said. "It gives the kids a sense of order and the beauty of nature that psychologically benefits people."

This project is a part of the Argyle service league's "Ultimate Gift," which is the big project each chapter chooses to work on. 

Kristy Johnson, chairwoman of the league's Ultimate Gift project, said the 94 mothers and 112 sons who worked on the project began their relationship with Cumberland with the Ultimate Gift. 

"We've been working on this project since the beginning of October," Johnson said. "We've worked every weekend to do what we call a campus refresh, so basically help Cumberland catch up on projects they couldn't do."

The organization approached Cumberland and asked what tasks needed to be done, which Dickerman said they performed in an efficient way. 

"Sometimes you can look at things and think, 'Oh, that's nice.' Everything that each person does to touch the children's home and help is appreciated and goes a long way," Dickerman said. "I think the biggest thing I heard from the group is how organized and courteous and how good [they were]. … They were ready to work, did a good job — it was a full turnkey, good group."

The teens have also worked with the Special Olympics, local food pantries and Serve Denton. 

League members have to attend five meetings and complete 20 hours of community service a year.

"The boys are a part of those meetings where they learn leadership skills and hear topics from guest speakers," Johnson said. "I think that they learned that they have to serve and be a part of their community. It's not all about them."