Kids are on a mission today through a special program to give back to those who have served our country. They were out at Paul’s House in Polk Township which helps homeless veterans get off the streets and back on their feet.

Giving back to those who have served our country can be as simple as sorting donated clothes. That’s what these students from the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps or JROTC Program are doing today at Paul’s House in Polk Township.

JROTC Battalion Commander Molly White at Panther Valley HS says, "Basically to teach young people to become better citizens. It’s not necessarily to promote you into the Army. Yes we do a lot of military stuff, discipline, we follow the Army values."

The federal program sponsored by the Armed Forces is only currently available in Northeast Pennsylvania at Panther Valley High School in Carbon County. There’s 72 students grades nine through twelfth enrolled but only 20 got chosen for this mission.

Retired First Sergeant Robert Shannon says, "We are selecting the kids that are doing well in school so if grades aren’t where they need to be, they don’t get to come on these kinds of trips."

The clothes getting separated are first given to homeless veterans and then whatever is leftover goes to people in need.

Valor Clinic Founder Mark Baylis says, "We found some new camps springing up here in this part of Pennsylvania recently and we’re going to be doing more forays. There’s been a bump up in the numbers and they’re going to resource us to make an impact right where the rubber meets the road so we’re grateful for their help."

The students are also organizing the household sheds which have items to furnish an apartment for a homeless veteran.

Baylis says, "We did 60 apartments in 2021, which is down from 2018 to 2019 pre-Covid, but that’s still a lot of homeless veterans getting off the street."

Officials tell us it’s encouraging watching the youth step up. But the students just feel the work is all part of their duty after all the sacrifices of the servicemen and women.

JROTC First Sergeant Kacie Weaver says, "It feels like I’m doing a really good honor. I’m playing a role in the duty of all the soldiers that have fought for years and years and years."

White says, "It really means a lot to me because they did go through a lot and just to be here and help them and do whatever we can."

The students plan to come back to Paul’s House and help out at least once a month going forward.