Meet the Village Kids

SouthShore youth ready to work for you, perform community service

Eddie Hefner Family Photo
Eddie Hefner, an 82nd Airborne Paratrooper and North Carolina deputy sheriff wrote, “Well you’re welcome to send him (Tanner) over to our house. We spend a lot of time with a wildlife rescue group.” Tanner, above left in photo, assists Hefner as he treats a pelican. Hefner’s wife Jennifer said, “We love Tanner … he’s part of our family now. Great kid … (they) probably played more than they worked.”

By JOAN CAMPBELL

In early September, Lori Colbert posted the following to an Apollo Beach social media page:

“I have a 12-year-old son who is on a life sentence of punishment right now. If anyone has any chores that need to be done, i.e., weeds pulled, grass mowed, baseboards wiped down, garage cleaned out, etc., please contact me.”

Colbert offered Tanner’s services for free. She went on to write, “You can pay him for his time and effort if you would like, but that money will either be donated to children at his school that are less fortunate than him or will be donated to the victims of Harvey.”

That post and subsequent ones amassed hundreds of “likes,” accolades, messages of encouragement and ideas — ideas that led Colbert, three weeks later, to create a Facebook page called “Village Kids.” Her vision is that the page is where people who need work done can connect with kids who want jobs and to earn money — most adults of today grew up doing odd jobs to earn money. Colbert believes there is a need in the community for the “Village” to help teach children. By starting “Village Kids,” she is hoping to promote growth — the learning of life’s lessons and responsibilities — to SouthShore’s youth.

Taking a cue from Colbert, other parents want their children to learn responsibility and face consequences.

A father wrote: “My son is down for cleaning bathrooms, spreading fertilizer, hard manual labor … and any other type of menial labor. Big strong athletic kid 15 years old who can bench-press 250 pounds. Has decided grades are not important and needs to learn what he will be doing the rest of his life without an education. The more vile and disgusting the better. Mucking horse stalls would be great.

Colbert now has a partner, Kristy Costello Hart, and the two mothers hope that instead of letting them (kids) hide in the house behind a phone or computer, let them get back outside and learn some basic life skills, along with respect and humility in helping others.

Village Kids Facebook Photo
Lexi Hart found a job helping a store organize inventory.

A mother wrote: “I am interested in having my 12-year-old daughter participate. Would be great for her to learn to give back.”

Village Kids is a work in progress. Adults work along with the kids, who bring their own tools, and they have a waiver to sign. They are willing to travel to the SouthShore area as far as Riverview, Sun City Center and Parrish.

Colbert and Hart are working on a pricing menu; for now, plan on about $10 an hour per person. To learn more about what jobs they do, see before- and-after pictures, read clients’ comments and to schedule work, join “Village Kids” on Facebook. Not on Facebook? You can email them at floridavillagekids@gmail.com, or call 941-587-7003.

The kids are looking for a place to hold a car wash to earn money to buy tools, safety glasses and gloves.

A client wrote: “Thank you all for coming out today and tackling this monster of a job. It was a pleasure meeting such a great group of people. The kids did an excellent job and were so polite. We appreciate all you did more than you will ever know.”

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