A group of Beaufort teenagers lent a helping hand at a Port Royal assisted living facility this week as part of a statewide service project.
About 30 teens from AMIKids Beaufort, formerly the Beaufort Marine Institute, helped the staff and residents of the Helena House assisted living home.
AMIKids Beaufort is a residential facility in Dale that serves as an alternative to prison for 14- to 17-year-old juvenile offenders.
The teenagers pitched in as part of a statewide project organized by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice to urge troubled young people to give back to their communities, according to organizers.
More than 70 different service projects were planned statewide as part of the initiative, DJJ officials said.
The project coincides with the National Day of Service, a day designated by Congress and President Barack Obama to encourage community service and volunteerism.
Beginning Thursday, the Beaufort teenagers helped the facility's staff with routine maintenance jobs and spent time with its residents, said James Rivers, the executive director of AMIKids Beaufort.
"The kids have been helping Helena House with basic needs like mowing the lawn, painting furniture and other landscaping jobs," Rivers said. "The most important thing about all of this is for these guys to realize the importance of giving back to the community and being able to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It's an invaluable lesson."
AMIKids Beaufort was expected to finish the work at Helena House today, Rivers said.
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.