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Sharpsburg parish's kickoff for kids group close

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.
The Herald
Youth group counsellor Tom Troyan is starting a new group for younger children at St. Juan Diego Parish in Sharpsburg on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. Jan Pakler | for The Herald

In little more than a year, St. Juan Diego Parish youth director Tom Troyan has organized a strong group of teens who are interested in making a difference in the parish community.

“We have a great group,” said Troyan, who leads twice-monthly meetings for the Sharpsburg-based youth organization.

“But I asked myself, what are we doing for the younger kids?”

Troyan was compelled to start a feeder program geared toward children in kindergarten through the fifth grade.

The group will meet once a month for age-appropriate activities and social projects in the basement of the St. Juan Diego rectory along Ninth Street. The newly remodeled space was aptly dubbed the Act of Random Kindness (ARK) room by Troyan's older club.

The kickoff for the younger kids will be at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28 for anyone interested.

“I'd just like to do something to get them interested while they're young,” Troyan said. “We need to introduce them to the idea of fellowship so when they hit middle school, they are excited.”

Activities will be geared toward an elementary level and might include coloring, painting and games.

“It will be about stimulating their creativity and getting them excited about social-justice activities,” Troyan said.

Like their older counterparts, Troyan will have the younger set design cards to be delivered to patients at the VA Hospital in O'Hara or to local shut-ins.

They might be encouraged to do a fundraiser similar to the older kids, who raised more than $500 by asking parish members to pitch pennies into a pot each Sunday, or to bring in blankets, food and treats for an animal shelter.

The older students collected those items and were treated to a visit by a therapy dog named Anastasia, whose owner explained the beneficial effects of taking the dog to local hospitals.

In addition to fellowship and fun, Troyan said, the goal is to show younger children what they can accomplish.

“Instead of looking at youth group as just another day, they might look at it as “I can do something!”

For more information about the new youth group, call Troyan at 412-580-8675.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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