Many people travel during the summer, but one group of teens recently took a trip that had a special purpose.
Thirteen teens from a Cambridge Christian youth group drove 15 hours to North Carolina to help build homes for families affected by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.
The group, from Maranatha Christian Reformed Church, spent the week of July 4th down there painting, replacing floors and hanging up doors and drywall for two families in need.
Dina Zomer, the Director of Youth Ministry at Maranatha, says that the kids who volunteer for these trips enjoyed the work.
"They put their best effort in," says Zomer, "They knew that they were making a difference."
Every year, the youth group helps communities like North Carolina across Canada and the United States.
And this isn't the first time that the group is helping out areas where a natural disaster has taken place.
"The majority of the people we worked with, have been because of natural disasters like tornados or hurricanes." says Zomer.
Zomer says that she is able to organize these trips through the help of agencies like World Renew.
"They actually help to direct us to where the needs are," says Zomer, "And then, they actually connect us with other groups in the States and Canada where we work together to make a difference."
Zomer, who has been the director since 2006, plans a trip months in advance so that it's the focus of the group's teachings over the summer and fall.
"We use our time to prepare our minds and our hearts to prepare to help people." says Zomer.
And as much as they prepare in advance for their missions, Zomer says that the experience is always a humbling one.
"When you go down there and say that you're going to help them," says Zomer, " they have to wrap their heads around the fact that they have these strangers are coming from Canada, coming to work for them."
"It's this intimate moment in their life, that you make such a difference, but they also end up making a difference in you, the one that's helping them."
However, Zomer points out that you don't need an international trip to make a difference, as there are many opportunities to make a difference right here in Waterloo Region.
"We go once a year on a mission trip, but we know very well that there's so many things in our community that we can do." says Zomer.
"We can help at the food bank, we can help at Ray of Hope... If we teach our youth, and us as adults model helping our neighbours, we make this world a better place."