The most wonderful feeling is to know you’ve made a difference. And I got to experience that feeling when I went on what others call “a mini mission trip.”

Under the direction of my group leader, Corey Miller, I volunteered with about 20 other youth to paint the house of Ms. Benson, an elderly local resident whose husband had died several years earlier. Three rooms needed to be painted: the kitchen, a hallway, and a bedroom. So our group broke into smaller teams and each took a room.

My group was the kitchen. We got straight to work, putting down tarps and starting on the walls and door. Time flew by, and by the end of the day we had gotten pretty messy. (I even had paint in my hair—thanks, Chloe Powell!) When we returned the next day, we had to roll and finish the cabinets, but we tackled the job with gusto. By day’s end, all three rooms looked great, and we felt proud of our efforts.

While we painted the house, Ms. Benson watched over us. She told us stories about her husband and her daughter, who sadly had also died of a heart attack. Her son-in-law still mows her lawn once a week. Ms. Benson said she didn’t expect her house to be painted again, and she was very excited when she saw how it looked. Knowing what she had been through made repainting her house mean even more to me.

I learned several things this week, how to scrape paint and prep a room for painting, how to use a roller, and how to clean up after a full day of painting. I was reminded how to work with a team to get a big job done. I gained confidence carrying on a conversation with adults. But all these experiences confirmed the most important lesson of all, one I hope to keep in mind always: the simple knowledge that I am blessed by God every day.