CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Charleston Sternwheel Regatta week is officially here, and volunteers are helping get everything set up!

Today, teens with the Mountaineer Challenge Academy loaded boxes with everything from t-shirts, hats, and coolers to help get the city of Charleston ready for Thursday when all the fun begins!

The Mountaineer Challenge academy helps at-risk youth prepare for a bright future and get involved in their community.

18-year-old Dante Wells, who’s been in the academy since he was 14, says being a part of this program has helped him grow into a successful adult. “It gets us out of the same routine that we’re in every day. And it makes their days a little better and it’s just good to help people,” said Wells. He hopes to enlist in the military once he graduates.

Noah Feltner, a Squad Leader with the academy, says his role is humbling. “They work really hard. And then to come out here and spend hours and hours on helping people they’ve never met and that they might not ever meet again. It’s a humbling thing,” he says.

The academy will be out the next two days helping out wherever they are needed to get everything set up for the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta.

13 News is a proud sponsor of the event.