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Volunteers Refurbish Youth Center at NBAA2010 Community Build
Atlanta, GA, October 18, 2010 – NBAA kicked off a week of Convention activities on Sunday, October 17 with hammering, sawing, sanding and painting, when nearly 300 NBAA2010 Attendees and local volunteers worked together to renovate the playgrounds, classrooms and athletic facilities at the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club in the Convention’s host city of Atlanta.
"It’s just a good way for us to get to know each other in a different environment and help out the community," said Elaine Persons, marketing director for Epps Aviation, an FBO on nearby DeKalb Peachtree Airport (PDK), where the NBAA2010 Static Display of Aircraft will be held, as she helped repaint an art classroom used by all ages of students. "And it shows everybody in this community that general aviation isn’t necessarily what they think – it’s a lot more."
The community enhancement project, supported by 80 financial contributors and organized by an NBAA2010 Local Committee, with coordination from the nonprofit organization Hands on Atlanta, was planned over several months but took place in a single day. Volunteers built a new playground; completely overhauled the teen center; resurfaced the outdoor volleyball courts; repainted the gymnasium; built a new retaining wall, a learning garden, an outdoor classroom; and more – all with an aviation theme.
"It’s hard work for us at NBAA’s show, but we like to give something back as well when we come over here," said John Bool, technical director for Harrods Aviation, a fixed base operator (FBO) and maintenance provider in the United Kingdom, who had come to the community build with five Harrods colleagues from the UK and was helping to erect a shade structure.
Teams of volunteers labored on 22 projects all over the Brookhaven site, working on improvements to make the club more welcoming to young members. The Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club serves nearly 200 local children and youth every day. Almost 80 percent of the club’s members are economically disadvantaged and participate in free or reduced lunch programs. Nearly 55 percent come from single-parent homes. The club runs dozens of after-school and summer camp programs for members aged six to eighteen, focusing on academic success, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles.
"A lot of our kids feel overlooked," Bobby Dunn, senior executive director for DeKalb County Boys & Girls Clubs, told the volunteers. "The fact that you’re here reminds them people care about them and are investing in them."
"I started as a member at this Boys & Girls Club at about age six," said Brookhaven alum Michael Twum, who recently graduated form North Carolina State University. "So I’m most excited for the playground, because when I was here, there wasn’t much to play on, but now the kids will have two playgrounds."
Current Brookhaven member Laura Ramirez was looking forward to using the renovated teen room, where older club members lead programs for the younger children. "The kids will have a lot more fun in the new room," said Ramirez.
Dunn reiterated how grateful he was for the industry’s generosity and support, and also welcomed the aviation theme of the renovation. "I think the aviation theme opens up our kids’ eyes to an avenue they never thought they could go down," said Dunn. "By introducing them to aviation, and all the different doors open to them, they’ll see they can reach higher goals."
That potential to inspire the children and youth of this Atlanta neighborhood was what the NBAA2010 Local Committee hoped to achieve with the build. Many of the volunteers working on-site were glad to be able to leave something lasting for the community and share in the hard work with their industry peers.