By Tony Dewhurst
Jill Brown was so impressed with the teenagers on the National Citizen Service……she has invited them for Christmas lunch!
The youngsters, from Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme, organised a sponsored car wash for residents at Doreen Capstan House, a sheltered housing scheme in Leytonstone.
Doreen Capstan House Scheme Manager, Jill Brown said: "The teenagers were a credit to themselves, they showed a tremendous amount of warmth and kindness to the residents.
"They put so much into what they were doing, the kids were brilliant.
"We wanted a way to say thank you for their efforts, so we've asked them to come to our Christmas party and make them dinner."
The kind-hearted teenagers also accompanied the residents on a day trip to Southend and then they hosted a picnic at Doreen Capstan House, playing pool and dominoes with the residents before serving them tea.
"When they took the residents to Southend, there were some genuine friendships formed," said Jill.
"Most of all, there was lots of laughing, jokes and fun.
"It broke down barriers between the older and younger people. The residents had a brilliant time and when they came back many of them had a different perspective of each other.
"Some of our residents talked about their war-time experiences to them and when they held the picnic, they spent all afternoon together.
"The money from the car wash raised money to buy a Boccia Ball set, a game the old people have loved to play.
"Nothing was too much trouble for them and we were very impressed with the young people. I'd advise any young person to join the National Citizen Service because it helps them with the great learning experience of life."
The National Citizen Service brings together 16-year-olds from different backgrounds in a programme of challenge and learning, enabling them to develop the confidence they need to become more involved with their communities and to become more responsible citizens.
12 organizations - including The Football League Trust - have been chosen to run this year's National Citizen Service pilots project.
Pam Hetherington, a retired manageress and voluntary worker who lives at Doreen Capstan House, said: "I've lived on housing estates for most of my life, and I was often wary of young people.
"The way they would gather in groups on a street corner could be quite intimidating and seemed unsociable to an older person.
"So when they took us to Southend, I was a little bit apprehensive.
"But we had a wonderful time, though. It was a perfect day. The youngsters were chatty, polite and very caring - and now my old perceptions of young people have changed completely because of what I experienced.
"It has really created an openness in my mind about teenagers and I loved their company."
Pam added: "I feel so different about them and now I say give them a chance. We've experienced first hand that the scheme [National Citizen Service] is a wonderful opportunity for young people to become involved with their community.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing them again - they're our friends now."
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