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Uplifting the community is a powerful way of giving back. On April 16, Arizona State University students will be celebrating Global Youth Service Day by giving back to the Phoenix community.
ASU’s Public Allies Arizona program is collaborating with longtime partner Neighborhood Ministries as well as Hope House Farms to build, deliver and install garden boxes and “Little Free Libraries” in Phoenix neighborhoods.
Program coordinator Jeffrey Hawkinson said the day’s activities align with the nonprofits’ goals of discovering and creating innovative programs to build community wealth. It is also a way for the organizations to promote intergenerational involvement.
“The goal of Global Youth Service Day is to get an intergenerational group together to address challenges that communities are facing. Bringing teams together is a good symbol of all the organizations come together,” Hawkinson said.
Everyone is invited to join the day of service at Neighborhood Ministries’ campus in downtown Phoenix. In addition to building garden boxes and the little libraries, volunteers can also help organize carnival games for the Neighborhood Ministries’ annual summer camp.
The little libraries and garden boxes are targeted to help specific Phoenix communities deal the issues of education and nutrition.
The libraries, which will stocked with books collected through book drives, will be placed in high-traffic areas — or places where youth tend to gather.
“With our first little library we couldn't keep books in it for a whole month. Families were just grabbing them and taking them home. That's a wonderful problem to have,” said Marco Perez, an alumnus of the Public Allies Arizona and current Neighborhood Ministries member.
Volunteers will be delivering 4- by 6-foot garden boxes to families who have elected to receive them through the Neighborhood Ministries. Families can decide where they want the boxes placed and can even plant donated seeds with the volunteers.
“Education and nutrition are important pillars of any community. However, in poorer communities these two pillars are often very weak. With regards to food, there is often limited investment from grocers, and transportation to and from can be an issue as well,” Perez said.
Approximately 100 to 150 volunteers are expected to donate their time to the service day, according to Hawkinson. There will be Public Allies members and alumni, Neighborhood Ministries members, Hope House members, community members and ASU students.
To register for the Global Youth Service Day, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/ .
Top photo by Robin Filipczak (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 )], via Wikimedia Commons