Nearly 250 volunteers from around Saginaw County, comprised of community members and high school students from 14 area schools, worked together Thursday, May 18 to make Saginaw a little brighter.
Coming from as far away as Birch Run, St. Charles and Chesaning, the students joined with other volunteers at the Saginaw YMCA. After a brief orientation, they were paired with others from the various schools and sent to a number of locations around the city of Saginaw.
The volunteers spent time digging weeds and planting flowers or picking up trash along empty lots. Some would also paint homes for veterans or the elderly. The event ran from 9:30 a.m-12:30 p.m.
17-year-old Cecelia Hopkins, a junior at Heritage High School and a member of the Early College Program at Saginaw Valley State University, is in her third year of the volunteer event. She says she loves seeing how the work makes people feel.
“I like to see the faces you get when you’re volunteering. Like the first year, when I was painting and gardening, the lady that worked at the location I was at, she was really happy to see the things that she wanted to do was being done.”
27-year-old Matt McCallum calls himself a community oriented person.
“(I) just get out and help the community look better the best way that I can.”
17-year-old Freeland High School junior Ashley Reinig is part of a youth volunteer organization with the Freeland Force soccer club. She says she likes to know she’s making a difference.
“As a youth, sometimes you don’t get as many opportunities as you do when you’re an adult. So starting off young, I feel like will just help me grow, so when I am older, I have more experience with helping the community and just giving back.”
Saginaw City Councilman Clint Bryant gave the keynote address. He says it’s encouraging to see young people active in the community.
“They’re doing such great work, beautifying areas of their own community… That’s something that we’re so excited about, and we just want to tip our hat to them and tell them thank you so much for taking ownership of their community.”