Students on a mission from their hearts

Local high school teens are taking on a proposed homeless youth shelter as their senior project, swinging hammers and holding fundraising fashion shows and benefit concerts.

North Medford High School seniors Marcus Garrett, Lyndsey Davee, Kaleigh Powell and Meagan West say Hearts with a Mission, which will provide temporary, emergency shelter to homeless youths, is a cause that touches their hearts.

Garrett put his prom plans on hold to stage a "Teens Helping Teens" benefit concert at 7 tonight at Mountain Christian Fellowship, 1 E. Main St., Medford.

Garrett scheduled the concert not realizing it would conflict with his senior prom. But the double-booking is a no-brainer for the 18-year-old. The concert took priority, he said.

"This cause hits close to home," said Garrett. "I know some of my friends have been on the streets."

Just in case he gets the opportunity to zip over to the dance during the concert's intermission, Garrett's parents rented him a tuxedo, he said.

"I might get over to my prom for a little bit in the middle," Garrett said. "But I want to be the first person there and the last person to leave to make sure the concert is a big success."

The concert will feature local musicians Chad Walker, Lexie Deats and Garrett's brother-in-law, Logan Martin, he said.

"I tried to make it a diverse mix," he said. "I'm really shooting for a full house."

West opted to help with the demolition part of Hearts with a Mission's efforts to create a shelter out of a dilapidated house at 521 Edwards St.

"I just wanted to do something beneficial for people who don't get a lot," West said.

Davee got all the fences donated for the property and "sent out tons of letters to friends and family."

Only three of Davee's letters have yet to come in, but she already has raised $300 from those, she said.

Davee also attended the charity fashion show designed to benefit the nonprofit organization last Sunday at 4 Daughters Irish Pub in Medford. "The Edge of Fashion in the Heart of Medford" was Powell's senior project. Powell said her goal was to "raise as much money for this amazing charity as possible."

"We raised over $1,300," Powell said. "I don't have an exact number yet as we are waiting to finalize T-shirt sales."

"Everyone was enjoying themselves and there were quite a lot of people," Davee added.

Hearts with a Mission founders are grateful for the help as they struggle to meet a September deadline for construction. The organization promised to open the shelter within a year after receiving a $200,000 federal block grant administered by the city of Medford in September 2008.

It's impressive the students are so committed to helping out other, less-fortunate teens, said Kevin Lamson, Hearts with a Mission executive director.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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