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Local youths to volunteer in clean-up event

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

As part of a worldwide push to promote youth volunteerism, approximately 75 youngsters from Clayton and neighboring counties are expected to participate in a College Park neighborhood clean-up event this weekend, organized by Cowgirl City Ranch, Inc., according to Joyce Sneed, the executive director of the Riverdale non-profit organization.

The organization focuses on teaching financial literacy, providing housing counseling and creating affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families. This Saturday's clean-up, which will be held in the Pointer Ridge subdivision in College Park from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m., on Hidden Brook Trail, is part of "Global Youth Service Day," Sneed said, a celebration that encourages young people to volunteer in their communities.

The 22nd Annual "Global Youth Service Day" is spearheaded by Youth Service America.

Sneed said her group is renovating a house in the neighborhood to be sold to a low- to moderate-income family.

She said a lot next to the home is littered with garbage and other debris.

Young people volunteering in the "Global Youth Service Day" project will assist Cowgirl City Ranch by picking up the garbage in the lot, Sneed said.

"It's [the garbage] affecting the community and it's affecting the property values in the entire community," she said. "It's been there for years. It has been in that condition for a long time."

Sneed said the Fulton County Department of Public Works will assist in the clean-up, by visiting the subdivision from time to time to pick up the bags of waste collected.

Greg Fann, public service coordinator for the Fulton County Department of Public Works, said the department will also provide volunteers with vests and bags.

"Fulton County Public Works assists with neighborhood clean-ups through our Adopt-A-Road Program and we believe it is important for our communities to remain clean and safe," said Fann. "It is a delight when residents take pride in their communities and their environment by organizing neighborhood clean-ups."

Brandon Gryde, a spokesperson for Youth Service America, said Youth Service America is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that tries to increase the diversity and scale of youth serving in substantive roles in community service.

Global Youth Service Day is intended "to celebrate and highlight what people want to do everyday of the year to improve their communities," said Gryde.

According to Gryde, Youth Service America observes "Global Youth Service Day" from April 23 to April 25.

"We schedule it at this time of year, because many schools and organizations are creating Earth Day events," he said.

Global Youth Service Day, formerly known as National Youth Service Day, was established in 1988 and grew to be observed in more than 100 countries, Gryde said.

Gryde said that while young people can join organizations conducting a local volunteer event as part of Global Youth Service Day, Youth Service America encourages them to spearhead their own community service projects.

He said service projects can range from educating other youngsters on childhood obesity, to executing a clean-up volunteer event. "We really want to see a youth strategy every step of the way," Gryde said.

Gryde said Youth Service America offers micro-grants for service projects during Global Youth Service Day.

Though Youth Service America is not accepting applications for micro-grants for the upcoming celebration, individuals may apply for micro-grants for next year's Global Youth Service Day by visiting the Youth Service America web site at www.ysa.org.

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On the net:

Cowgirl City Ranch: http://ccr-atlanta.org/default.aspx