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Students Work with GaDOE to Get Books to Georgia Media Centers


When Remington Youngblood gets home from school, there’s not much extra time for watching TV. Instead, Remington – who’s 14 – catches up on emails, takes a few calls, maybe plans out a meeting or service project for the next day.

“I probably have, like, 20 reminders in my phone right now of things that I need to be doing,” says Remington, a freshman at Lambert High School (Forsyth County Schools).

In fifth grade, Remington founded Change 4 Georgia, a community service organization that, at its core, is about giving back to soldiers and veterans – “serving those who are serving us.” Four years later, the organization has about 100 student members and has extended its focus to various forms of community service, from book drives to tree-planting.

Remington is a member of Superintendent Woods’ Student Advisory Council, and C4G is assisting GaDOE with its literacy initiatives – recently members donated, sorted, and packed hundreds of books that will be distributed to school media centers all over the state.

C4G members also read to preschoolers, send cards and crafts to deployed troops, hold toy drives and food drives, adopt stretches of road for trash pickup, collect sleeping bags and blankets for homeless veterans, and manage a student veteran scholarship. That’s far from an exhaustive list, but it gives an idea of the scope.

“Anything you can imagine, they’ve done,” says Rebecca Youngblood, Remington’s mom. “All you’ve got to do is tell them what you need – they’ll try to make it happen.”

When we interviewed him for this story, we learned that Remington will answer any question correctly, thoroughly – but get him on the topic of service, and you see him light up, wheels spinning, ticking off projects on his fingers.

“Service has always been a big part of my life,” he says. “It always makes me feel good knowing I could do something to help someone else.”

That’s true of the other Change 4 Georgia members, too. They’re all middle- and high-school students – but that doesn’t slow them down.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are,” says Royce Dickerson, a C4G member and junior at Lambert. “If you have a dream, a passion or a vision, ask for some help – it could be your parent, it could be your school administrators. They’re here to help you out and make whatever your dream is a reality. If it’s going to make an impact in the lives of thousands of people, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to make it a reality.”

At this point, part of the focus is on raising up leaders to continue the legacy – and inspiring other students to serve their communities. Near the end of our interview, we ask the C4G members what advice they’d give to kids who are interested in service, but may not know where to start.

“People look forward to growing up, and they think it’ll be so glorious – but they didn’t spend their time on what they wanted to do, early on,” says Trent Dvorsky, a freshman at Lambert. “If you do, you can build a foundation.”

Remington’s advice is simple: “Find something you’re passionate about.”

And then we start proposing ideas, and you can see the members of Change 4 Georgia entering problem solving mode. They’re brainstorming, list-making, ready for the next project – ready to help.

This story was originally published on Educating Georgia’s Future Blog.

The Georgia Department of Education and State School Superintendent Richard Woods are working with student-run service organization Change 4 Georgia (C4G) to provide books for school media centers across Georgia.

Both organizations have collected donations of reading material appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students, and C4G members helped sort and package the books for distribution. Superintendent Woods will distribute the books to media centers as he visits schools throughout the state.

“Literacy is a crucial component of educational readiness – when students become strong readers, that has a ripple effect on all other aspects of their academic lives,” Superintendent Woods said. “We are always looking for opportunities to promote literacy throughout the state of Georgia and provide resources that will allow students to fall in love with reading.”

So far, approximately 2,000 books have been donated to the project.

MEDIA CONTACT

Matt Cardoza
GaDOE Communications Office
404-651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org

Lynn Peisner
Get Georgia Reading
lynn@gacp.org