COLONIE — Scores of teenagers converged on The Crossings on Saturday, April 13, as part of Global Youth Service Day to help out the Veterans Miracle Center and do some spring cleaning.
“It’s unbelievable. It really is unbelievable. I’m overwhelmed,” said Melody Burns, the director of operations at the VMC, while sorting through hundreds and hundreds of shampoo bottles and other necessities spread out over a number of tables at a conference room at The Crossings. “Normally when people have events for us we end up with a few boxes of things, which we do appreciate but this is really phenomenal. It will help us get through the summer crunch.”
While the goods were being brought inside to get sorted, boxed up and brought the VMC shop on 10 Interstate Ave. — to then get distributed to active service members and vets who have been honorable discharged — some students were hosting face painting booths to raise money for the vets and others were cleaning up around the Colonie Veterans Memorial at The Crossings and at the nearby Beltrone Senior Living Center, home to many retired veterans. There were other booths set up so children could make or color cards for those serving overseas.
“We thought it was important to support our veterans and give back to them,” said Shaker High sophomore Shannon Lipscomb, a member of the Colonie Youth Advisory Board. “It’s important for us to do things like this because it shows that we are involved in the community and want to help people and it’s such a nice thing to help veterans and the things we do through the Youth Advisory Board. It is so great to have teenagers get out here and show we care.”
To raise money for the project, students hosted bake sales, sold raffle tickets and contacted local businesses for their support and stationed community collection boxes at eight drop off points around town.
The GYSD project was coordinated by the town’s Division of Youth Services with Albany County’s Department for Children, Youth, and Families.
“The Town coordinates GYSD participation every year,” said Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan. “By volunteering, kids experience firsthand the benefits of giving their time and effort to a worthy cause. It’s a win-win proposition for everybody.”
GYSD is billed as the world’s largest service event, with students around the world called to voluntary action on a single day. This year’s idea to help the VMC came from Laura Archambault, the town’s youth service specialist.
The nonprofit Veterans Miracle Center offers a range of personal and household necessities and other support services free of charge to veterans and active-duty military and their families. It is by appointment only and more information is available by calling 518-486-8398 or by email at [email protected]
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