YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – More than 150 people got their hands dirty Saturday morning as they volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown.
Volunteers worked to improve upon the area outside of the club’s building, hoping to make it a more inviting and safer place for the children to play.
They spread mulch on the playground and cleared sidewalks, all while working through the rain.
“A lot of our kids live in this neighborhood, so with them living in the neighborhood it helps them take pride in cleaning up their side of town,” said Germaine McAlpine, the club’s CEO.
The Boys and Girls Club also teamed up with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, who is already working to beautify the city.
More than 40 percent of the children walk to the club each day.
“If you saw the sidewalks before this morning, there was just a little narrow path and some of it was just completely covered in grass, so that means kids can’t walk to the Boys and Girls Club safely,” said Tom Hetrick, YNDC’s neighborhood planner.
One of the volunteers is a basketball player at Youngstown State University, Ryan Strollo. He says he likes to volunteer at the club to help make an impact on the children.
“They look up to us and that’s the bottom line. If they can come see us play, but at the same time see us out here doing this stuff that they’re also doing, it just means that much more to them,” he said.
Strollo added that he enjoys giving back and seeing how happy everyone gets once a project like this is completed.
Organizers of the clean-up initiative say plans for another day of working are already underway.
“We want to make sure that those kids feel safe already in the club, but we want to make sure they feel safe outside the club as well, as they’re coming to and from,” McAlpine said.