ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Dozens of students and staff from Oklahoma are helping to clean up the Atlantic Beach area this week.
About 50 junior high students and staff from Victory Christian Center in Oklahoma came to help out during their spring break - even paying their own way to come to the Grand Strand so they could then pay it forward.
For several hours Wednesday, the students joined volunteers from Barefoot Community Church in North Myrtle Beach to paint the Community Center, rake leaves, and pick up trash.
Rod Gray, the executive pastor at Barefoot Church, says that the church has a heart for the Atlantic Beach area. Gray says they work with the North Strand Helping Hand to help with food drives in the area, and this was a good opportunity to help even more.
"Anytime that you go to a community that is a little bit impoverished, if you will, anytime you go do anything, it's going to improve the community for sure," explained Gray. "Just while we were here, there's been several people that have come out of the low income housing and have just thanked us for picking up trash. It's that simple act of kindness that goes a long way".
Thursday, these students will head across the street to help clean up around the Atlantic Beach Town Hall.
"When you drive into a community and say, 'Wow, look at this fresh coat of paint. Look, they picked up our trash,' I think it shows to people that people do care," said Gray.
One of the reasons these teenagers are in town is a program called 99. It's a walk-through simulation of the leading causes of death for teenagers in the U.S.
The program starts this Friday at 7 p.m. at the Nascar Speed Park and runs for the next five weekends.