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Young Life fundraiser sells mulch to aid teens

MARBLE FALLS — With the spring gardening season in full swing, a local Christian youth outreach ministry is hoping residents will "go green" and help their organization grow.

Young Life of Marble Falls hosts its first annual Spring Mulch Sale March 27-28, but orders must be placed by Sunday. The event helps the organization send high school students to camp at Sharp Top Cove in Jasper, Ga., this summer.

"We were looking for something unique for a fundraiser and this was one of the ideas that was suggested," said Young Life of Marble Falls committee member Sharon Sembera.

Jacob Wieweck (left) and Jake Wagner are looking to unload lots of mulch March 27-28 as part of a Young Life of Marble Falls fundraiser. The youth outreach ministry is selling bags containing two cubic feet of mulch for $5 a piece. A purchase of 10 bags also brings free delivery. Orders need to be in by March 21. For more, call (512) 713-8830. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The mulch is Texas native hardwood, which will add a "wonderful look" around shrubs, trees, gardens and flower beds, as well as help conserve water, officials said.


Since Young Life of Marble Falls isn’t affiliated with a church and doesn’t receive outside assistance, Sembera said local donations and contributions keep the program running.

"So it’s not just about buying mulch, but helping some kids grow in Christ," she said.

Young Life is selling the bags, which contain two cubic feet of mulch, at $5 apiece, and they offer free delivery with purchases of 10 bags or more.

Smaller orders are also available for pickup March 27-28 at the Hill Country Health Store, 2304 U.S. 281.

While the funds help get kids to summer camp, Sembera said the mission of Young Life is much deeper.

"The idea is to introduce kids to Christ," she said.

Young Life, she added, depends on volunteer youth leaders, usually college-age, to reach out to teens as mentors and peers.

"A big part of (Young Life) is the leaders developing those relationships with the kids so (the teenagers) feel like they have somebody to go to for help or answers," Sembera said.

The organization is an international youth ministry started in 1941 in Gainesville by Jim Rayburn. It eventually moved its headquarters to Colorado, spreading across the country and then the world.

Sembera said Young Life isn’t about taking kids away from churches but helping them find a church home.

"My kids have gone to church all their lives, but they never really got it," she said. "A lot of kids don’t understand that no matter where you are in life, (Jesus) is there and you can turn to him at any time. But so many kids just don’t get that. My boys didn’t. Sometime they see going to church as a form of punishment."

But when her son Andrew Sembera, 19, began attending Young Life meetings, she saw a change.

"After attending Young Life, he even volunteered for work crew where you go to camp and work for five weeks," she said. "He ended up washing dishes for five weeks for 300 students and he won’t even do dishes at home."

Some members also help to create new Young Life chapters.

"We’ve had a lot of kids who didn’t ‘get it’ at first, (then) go on from here and establish or lead their own programs," she said. "So it’s not just about changing lives in Marble Falls — it changes lives everywhere."

To place an order for the mulch sales or for more information on Young Life, contact Sembera at (512) 731-8830 or