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Youth called to action on Mega Service Day

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

In recognition of National Community Service Day and Georgia Cities Week, the Clayton County Adolescent Coalition and the city of Riverdale are mobilizing young people for a day of service across the county.

Mega Service Day will take place Saturday, from 8 a.m., to 12 p.m. From Riverdale First Baptist Church, more than 100 volunteers will fan out to serve the Clayton County area at 10 different locations: the House of Dawn; Awesome, Inc.; Valley Hill Senior Apartments; Sunbridge Nursing Home; Alzheimer's Services Center, Inc.; Calvary Refuge Center; Rainbow House, and along Powers Drive, Roberts Drive, and Rountree Drive.

Riverdale City Councilman Kenny Ruffin, who also serves as Clayton County Adolescent Coalition chairman, said the event is the first of its kind for both the city and the coalition.

"The point is to get kids involved in community service," Ruffin said. "That way, when they grow up, they will look at this as a normal way to give back. We tried to go to where we could have the most impact ... community service is not all about picking up trash.

"So many times cities work to fix things that go wrong," he continued. "We want to be proactive. It will primarily be kids from the Riverdale area, but we are reaching out to the whole county."

Ruffin said children from Clayton County 4-H, Riverdale High School, Awesome, Inc., and the Riverdale Youth Council will join parents, individual volunteers, and a number of organizations in cleaning up streets, helping foster children, assisting the homeless, and interacting with seniors and people with Alzheimer's disease. The volunteers will range from elementary school-age to high school pupils, he said.

The Clayton County Adolescent Coalition is composed of a dozen different county organizations dedicated to the development and betterment of children, including Awesome Inc., Lite House Partners, Inc., the Clayton County Board of Health, Clayton County Juvenile Court, and Clayton County 4-H.

Suzette Antoine, program assistant with Clayton County 4-H, and one of the organizers of Mega Service Day, said the program will help children reevaluate their usefulness to the community.

"Just the realization that they are an important part of their own community and that they can make a difference ... it will have a very positive impact," said Antoine. "I am hoping that they will see the impact of it and will [volunteer] more consistently."

A sign-in for projects will take place this Saturday at 8 a.m., at the Riverdale First Baptist Church, located at 6805 Church St., in Riverdale. Projects will start at 9 a.m. Every volunteer will receive a free T-shirt. A cook-out will follow at 1 p.m., at Church Park, on Wilson Street adjacent to the church.

To volunteer, call (770) 473-5439 or visit www.riverdalega.gov.