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Alternatives For Girls participated in Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) on Saturday, April 22nd. GYSD is an annual campaign that mobilizes millions of youth to improve their communities each year through service. Celebrated in over 100 countries, GYSD is the largest service event in the world! In an effort to spread the word about this annual event, The Michigan Community Service Commission offered mini grants to organizations who were interested. Alternatives For Girls applied, and received one of these grants.
“The Prevention team and I brainstormed on project ideas. We wanted to make sure that the project would be a good overall learning experience for the young ladies,” said Jenny Clement, AFG’s Volunteer Services Manager, who helped lead the project along with AFG’s Prevention Program. They made plans to do a community clean up, plant flowers, build a bench, and build bird feeders out of recycled materials.
During the planning phase, Jenny reached out to Home Depot in Dearborn. They generously supported this effort by donating soil, mulch, bird feeders, and the materials needed to make a bench. In addition to sending the supplies, ten volunteers also came to help with the project! Over 40 people, including the girls and young women in AFG’s Prevention Program, convened to help clean up the outside of AFG and the surrounding community.
Serissa, a participant in the Prevention Program, really enjoyed her experience. “We planted flowers, pulled weeds, and helped polish the bench once it was done,” she enthusiastically explained. Serissa’s favorite activity was when she planted flowers around the AFG sign, which graces the front lawn. “It’s the first thing that people see and I wanted to make sure it looked nice!”
One goal for the project was for the young woman to learn about the importance of giving back to the community. “For this project, I picked up the trash around AFG. It made me think about my own neighborhood and how I can help keep it clean,” said Karen, another participant in the Prevention Program. It is no coincidence that GYSD took place on Earth Day, a time where we all reflect on environmental issues and take action in ways that can make the world cleaner and safer for generations to come.
The girls and young women, volunteers, and AFG staff walked away with a commitment to continue taking care of the environment year round, instead of just one day. This day of service was an extension of what is already being taught in the Prevention Program and the girls plan to continue to learn about recycling and ways to take care of the environment. In addition, Home Depot has made a commitment to come back to help maintain the projects that were started. Indeed, it was a great learning experience for all and the outcome ignited a deeper commitment for a cleaner, safer, environment!
Alternatives For Girls would like to thank Home Depot for volunteering and donating supplies for this project, as well as Attack Hunger for donating lunch for all of the young women and volunteers!