Nearly one ton of trash collected at Global Youth Service Day cleanup

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press

More than 70 volunteers turned out for the Global Youth Service Day cleanup hosted by Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful in partnership with Just Serve.org and the Killeen Texas Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 
Volunteers of all ages met in the parking lot in front of McAlister’s Deli before they gathered their trash bags and grabber tool and spread out around the nearby parking lot, with some going to the stretch of grass along the fence line across from Wal-Mart and others going along the side of the road on Robert Griffin III Blvd, past the Five Hills Shopping Center. 
A total of 71 volunteers collected nearly one ton of trash, weighing in at 1,950 pounds.
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Executive Director Roxanne Flores-Achmad explained that KCCB was contacted by the Killeen Stake and Just Serve, which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to set up a cleanup for the Global Youth Service Day. 
Just Serve.org is a website where people can search and find different volunteer opportunities in their community, posted by local organizations. 
Global Youth Service Day is the largest youth service event worldwide and was founded in Benin in 2012. It is open to people ages five to 25 as a way to come together and serve their communities for the common good, according to Alicia Franzoni, with Just Serve.org. 
“Between the two of us, we came up with this project, because we really wanted to one, serve the community as well as plus make a difference,” Flores-Achmad said about the idea for the clean up. “There’s a lot of trash out here in this location, so it’s an opportunity for the youth to come out, serve the community and make a difference at the same time. 
Flores-Achmad said that she was hopeful that this day and this event would serve as a starting point for volunteerism with the youth. 
“We’re hoping that this particular day, especially for those youth, they’ll come out and serve, but it also jumpstarts in them the willingness to come back and serve in their community,” Flores-Achmad added. 
Eva Young, 18, is a senior at Harker Heights High School. She was one of dozens of volunteers devoting her Saturday morning to picking up trash near the green spaces around the Five Hills Shopping Center.
“Today is Global Youth Service Day, and for our church, we advocate for service,” Young said. “We love service, and that’s a big part of who we are, and we wanted to reach out to the community and be a part of what’s going on. I think that there are a lot of good things that come from helping the community because we also live in the community, and it’s our community, but it’s also everyone else’s community also, so we want to make it as best as we can.”

Young is also the youth representative for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints over Bell and neighboring counties. She said that she enjoyed seeing her peers out helping pick up trash. 
“It’s really cool to see my peers do this because I help coordinate activities like this to influence good and to do good and create a change, but then when they come out and participate, it’s working and it’s coming together, and it’s cool and inspiring because they also want to do good, and it just shows the desire of our hearts is to do good and to love our neighbor and to essentially become like our savior Jesus Christ where we all want to be our best and to do good for the community.”
Young said she discovered the cleanup project through Just Serve.org and that her church had also volunteered at other local organizations found through the website. 
“There are also other service projects if you want to look up you can find it by city or area or if you want to go serve in Austin, but that’s just a great way to change where you are and bloom where you’re planted,” Young said. 
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful routinely holds cleanup events throughout the year, and organizations like Just Serve and the Killeen Stake or any others are invited to reach out and organize their own cleanup event with KCCB. 
“It doesn’t cost us a thing but our resources that we already have available, and for the volunteers, it just costs them their time, but I feel this time is invested quite well when you’re actually giving back and serving in your community,” Flores-Achmad said. 
 

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