‘They’re wonderful kids, every one of them’ – Volunteers Fixing Homes, Mending Hearts

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A few hundred volunteers from across the country are in Lackawanna County this week, part of an annual effort arranged by NeighborWorks of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

94-year-old Joe Paris took his first selfie this week. He says he used to have parties on his back porch on St. Frances Cabrini Avenue in Scranton all the time, but since his wife Peg passed away a few months ago, he's been pretty lonely.

The company he'll have this week is priceless, plus the volunteers will be helping Joe with some household tasks.

The house and the gazebo where he had all those parties need fresh coats of paint.

"I can't do it. I can't afford it, but they're doing it for me," Joe said.

The volunteers are brought here for a week each summer by NeighborWorks of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

This is NeighborWorks largest effort yet. Joe's house is one of 62 other properties throughout Scranton and the rest of Lackawanna County being fixed up this week by a team of 400 volunteers.

The workers are mostly high schoolers and college kids representing churches from across the country. They pay their own way to get here, but they say keeping Joe company has been priceless for them, too.

"He's an inspiring individual. It's amazing listening to what he has to say," said Miles Hudson from Maryland.

The memories made here will never need another coat.

"The paint's going to wear off someday. The repairs that we make are going to need to be repaired again, but the relationships that are built through an event like this are really special," said Jesse Ergott, NeighborWorks of NEPA.

Joe says this week full of work around the house has been the most fun he's had in a long time.

"Oh my God, yeah. They're wonderful kids, every one of them."

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