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Leaving Footprints in the world

Courtesy photo
Andrew Adkins and Dillan Barker of Madison United Methodist Church's youth group, Cross Trainers, sort and hang donated clothes. The clothes are for the Cross Trainers One Size Fits All mission, the first project in its MJ's Footprints foundation, which helps the needy and victims of disaster and abuse.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Madison United Methodist Church in Boone County recently announced its new charity foundation: MJ's Footprints.

This foundation is run by a youth group called the Cross Trainers. The Cross Trainers are a group of students from Scott High School who meet each Wednesday with church member Vicki Cottrell, a Madison Middle School teacher who is also their volunteer supervisor.

After conferring with each other about ways to help the community, the group decided to form a foundation that specializes in aiding the less fortunate and victims of disaster and abuse. From this idea, MJ's Footprints was formed.

The name is rather significant to the group. The letters MJ refer to longtime church members Marvagene and Jack Dickson. They were chosen because they are loyal members of the church that the youth look up to and are thankful to have in their congregation.

When the Cross Trainers presented their foundation to the church, Marvagene was shocked and most honored. The church was proud; many people were impressed.

Hannah Sayre, a senior at Scott High School, said of Marvagene's reaction, "She was surprised that we decided to name our organization after her. It was very touching. I definitely think we chose the right person as our inspiration."

After their presentation, they received a letter from Dickson. "It was such an honor and a surprise to be selected as the name of your first footprint mission," it says.

The participants have declared that they will make many attempts throughout their existence to help all who are in need.

In order to achieve their goals, they will design a series of missions. Each mission will single out an issue around the community and take action to help improve it in even the smallest ways. The Cross Trainers believe that every little effort makes a difference.

The Cross Trainers first mission is currently in progress. It is titled One Size Fits All and is a part of an ongoing charity called God's Closet, run by the Cross Trainers.

"As an organization, God's Closet is our first service project. We've gotten a strong response from the community, which is evident in our donations. We've taken the first step to make a difference in our community," said Zach Paitsel, a Scott High School senior.

One Size Fits All began Oct. 23 and will end in late January. During this time, the church will be accepting both monetary and material donations. These will be collected at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

 Clothes of all sizes will be accepted for all ages, along with blankets, bedding, pillows and other similar items. The monetary donations will be used to purchase towels and hygiene products.

Each Wednesday, during youth group meetings, the donations will be sorted. The organization filled more than six large totes with clothes within the first week.

"We're making great progress," said Scott High School sophomore Donavan Conley. "The community has really helped with all of their donations. I hope it keeps up so that we can help the people who need it."

The Cross Trainers will participate in a lot of volunteer work, along with the Pathfinders, the middle school youth group at the church, which is supervised by volunteer Chris Bias, who is also a teacher at Madison Middle School. Cottrell and Bias take pride in their children.

"My kids are awesome," Cottrell said. "We've had a great response from the community and from our church. The idea came straight from the hearts of the Cross Trainers." For more information about how to help get involved or what to donate, email mjsfootprints@gmail.com or find MJ's Footprints on Facebook.


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