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Pay It Forward: Melissa Emmerson Layton

With a population of just over 1,100 finding something fun for teenagers in Divernon can be a challenge.

With a population of just over 1,100 finding something fun for teenagers in Divernon can be a challenge.

"We just don't have a lot in Divernon," Melissa Emmerson Layton said.

But Emmerson Layton is trying to change that through a youth group.

"We're here if they need us if they have problems or anything,” said Emmerson Layton, who started the Divernon Christian Youth Group. “They can come here and kind of vent and let go of their problems with us."

The Divernon Christian Youth Group started in 2012 with just three young girls.

Five years later and it's now a go-to hang out for many kids.

"It gives a lot of neighborhood kids something to do. It keeps them out of trouble,” said 18-year-old Khara Novak who used to attend the youth group.

It’s a place to bring faith and friendship together in Divernon.

Stephanie McDannald, who nominated Melissa, said, "She is constantly doing something for someone else."

"She does a lot for everyone without expecting anything back," said Novak.

Which is why NewsChannel 20 and Hy-Vee chose Melissa as this month's Pay It Forward Winner.

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