Meet Remington Youngblood, the charismatic 13-year-old leader of a movement in north Atlanta to engage students in supporting America’s servicemen and servicewomen. With support from local schools, businesses and community figures, Remington’s Change 4 Georgia organization has led dozens of volunteer projects to honor and thank those who protect our country, both at home and overseas, netting more than one million dollars in cash and in-kind donations over the past three years.
The list of programs and initiatives – each with its own clever name – taken on by Remington and his volunteer army of classmates is astounding:
* “Operation Oatmeal” has now collected nearly 3,000 boxes of hot breakfast cereal to ship overseas. “We have troops in Afghanistan specifically requesting it,” Remington points out.
* Through “Operation Hope and Inspiration,” Remington’s friends and classmates get together to make greeting cards and write letters to troops stationed abroad.
* Activities like the “Suds 4 Soldiers” car wash, organized by Remington’s friends, help raise money on behalf of Change 4 Georgia to create student veteran scholarships.
* The “Dynamite Diaper Duty Donation Drive” rounds up thousands of new diapers to give to veteran families as a way to help defray the expense of baby care.
* Change 4 Georgia youths launched the “Yum Gum Drive” to collect thousands of pounds of candy and bubble gum to send overseas. According to Remington, “One solider told us they love candy and gum. They spend time guarding for hours and chewing on candy gives them something to do.”
Change 4 Georgia supports countless other programs oriented toward supporting members of the military. “We continue to grow in many ways, including inspiring students and adults to community service. We never stop trying new programs to help others,” Remington adds.
Remington’s amazing volunteer story might not have happened were it not for his perseverance. Soon after moving to Georgia at age 10, Remington sought out volunteer service opportunities but was told by many agencies that he was too young to participate. He asked his mother if he could create his own opportunity to serve, and it wasn’t long before Change 4 Georgia began drawing interest from young volunteers in schools across north Atlanta.
Where did Remington’s motivation to start this movement originate? “My mom is very compassionate, and my parents instilled in me the importance of helping others,” says Remington. Equally important is his appreciation for freedom. “My great-grandfather was a Marine in WWII stationed on a battleship in the Pacific Ocean” Remington explains. He inspired me to give a hand up to our troops and our veterans.”
The entrepreneurial spirit Remington brings to his cause has opened some exciting doors, including state and national recognition. Remington recently received a commendation from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as well as The Hasbro Community Action Hero Award, applauding his good work. Remington and his unique brand of programs to support military active-duty and veterans demonstrate how much fun volunteering can be, making this young leader a Point of Light.
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