Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Weekends like this just don't come around very often!

As weeks go, last week was exceptional.

First, it was Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) on Friday and we had 18 very dedicated and enthusiastic students from Spring Valley Academy choose to spend their morning with us cleaning up the neighborhood and interacting with the residents, showing that today’s youth is interested in more than texting, tweeting and video games.

These young people we’re afraid to get their hands dirty. While part of them worked their way the full length of Ferguson Ave – about half a mile in length – picking up trash and even carrying large items from one end of the street to the other so they could be picked up by the city, another group helped out here at DXC, cleaning up the grounds so that we could look our best, too. Then, the full group traveled down Riverview Ave, where we’re located, ranging at least as far as they had on Ferguson. At one point, a resident came out onto his porch and stood applauding the students as they passed by his house, gathering trash. They exchanged greetings and the man thanked them for doing such a good job and everyone parted feeling a little better about what they were doing. By the time they were finished, not a single scrap of paper, not a discarded bottle or can, not a forgotten toy was left. They even found some – shall we say – very personal items which they carefully picked up and deposited in the proper receptacles.

That’s dedication!

There was a great moment at the beginning of the day when Global Youth Service Day Committee Member Cathy Guerrant, from nearby Catholic Social Services, and Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley stopped by for a visit. Both Ms. Guerrant and Commissioner Whaley have been great advocates of youth volunteer programs and have done a lot to encourage and support both programs and the local organizations, such as DXC, who host them.

Along with DXC Associate Executive Director Sarah Williams, Commissioner Whaley and Ms. Guerrant welcomed the students and thanked them for their work. This meant a lot to the young people, and meant even more when all three adults accompanied them outside to give them even more encouragement.

All this, by the way, was captured by local news media WDTN, Channel 2, who sent reporter Jordan Burgess out to get it on film and interview some of the students.

Students volunteer for Global Youth Service Day:

It was really special to see not only that young people would spend their morning doing work that many older, supposedly more responsible people tend to ignore. Maybe it’s the youth of our country that can set the example for us!

We really want to thank them, Spring Valley Academy, Ms. Guerrant and Commissioner Whaley, and WDTN for their support on GYSD. Because of it, our neighborhood is a better, cleaner and more prideful area.

But the good things didn’t stop there.
On Saturday, Sarah and Phil Greene, our AmeriCorps Program Manager were partnered with the Dayton/Montgomery County Public Health department at the Levin Health Fair, “Celebrating Health and Life.” This annual event, put on by the Levin Family Foundation, is one of the biggest, most important health-oriented events anywhere in this part of Ohio. It draws literally thousands of people and hundreds of health-related vendors from all over the Dayton area.

Sarah and Phil had the DXC display set up along with Public Health in a very high-traffic area. In fact, neither of them had much chance to catch their breath over the five hours of the event as people stopped by to pick up information and listen to Sarah and Phil talk about the 5-2-1-NA program.

That’s part of the GetUP Montgomery County program run by the Health Department – the reason we were partnered for the event.

That program seeks to address the epidemic of childhood obesity but changing our lifestyles and those of our kids. It advocates a daily regime of five servings of fruits and vegetables, having less than two hours “screen time” (video games, computers, television or cell phone), getting at least one hour of physical activity and having no or almost no sugary drinks, especially carbonated sugary drinks.

Here at DXC, though, we’ve taken it a bit farther. We’re also involved in teaching people how to take more control over their diet by growing their own food in backyard gardens or even containers. To that end, we’ve formed some pretty interesting partnership that we’ll be talking about later.

While at the Health Fair, Sarah and Phil also promoted DXC’s “In God’s Hands” child care facility and, was there ever a lot of interest!

“In God’s Hands” is a Title 20 child care program and, especially with the economic climate in Dayton right now, it is sorely needed. Sarah and Phil handed out so many pamphlets and brochures that they ran out, so we’re expecting to grow quite a bit over the next few weeks. We’ll keep you posted there too.

Finally, to close out the big week with a bit of fun, we hosted a community Easter Egg Hunt. AmeriCorps Member Cardella Scroggins put this event together as a way to give a bit to the community and let some kids discover the joy of the Easter season. From what we hear, nearly 100 people showed up and there was fun, laughter, and the thrill of discovered goodies had by all.

This is the first hunt we’ve had here at DXC but it more than likely won’t be the last.

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