Memphis teens serve Binghampton through ‘Service Over Self’

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2023 at 9:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Sixteen Binghampton high school students are learning valuable job skills while giving back to their community through providing home repair for homeowners in need.

Marked with humble beginnings, Service Over Self began as a volunteer home repair ministry in the Memphis neighborhoods.

Now, it has reemerged as a job training program for High school students in the Binghampton area.

SOS Executive Director, Philip Walkley says, “We hire them for [our] summer job program. They’re getting training, they’re getting paid, it’s a paid job and then they’re able to get back to the community by reroofing homes for folks in the community that have a need.”

The kids learn skills two days a week throughout the school year, then put those skills to the test for 3 weeks in the summer when they will provide total roof replacements for Binghampton homeowners.

But the main goal is to find beauty in a place where many may not see it.

“So many people, when they look at a neighborhood like Binghampton, they typically just want to see the bad or the hard things, but we see a whole lot of beauty and good here,” Walkley said.

Philip says the most beautiful thing that he’s found while doing this is: “[They] are incredible workers [and] have incredible attitudes, wanting to give back to the community.”

One student says working here and giving back is more important than just the money: it’s the ministry that has become his family.

“SOS is actually more than roofing, it’s like a family. It feels like a family. They teach us about finances and a lot more things.” student Leonce Niyangabo said.

Although he’s working hard in the summer sun, Leonce enjoys spending his summer this way.

“I love doing this. And it’s kinda fun because I’m doing it with my friends.”

SOS says they seek to empower people and create thriving communities through their home repair.

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