FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Christmas and gifts go hand-in-hand for most children, but some local families are forced to go without. Thanks to the giving hearts at Lambert High School and Change4Georgia, however, dozens of children can enjoy the holidays with the rest of their peers.
The Lambert High School football team recently partnered with Change4Georgia to bring hundreds of presents to the families at the Rainbow Village homeless shelter in Duluth.
This is the second time that they have held a toy collection drive for Rainbow Village, which was started and headed by Change4Georgia member and Lambert High School senior quarterback Richie Kenney. Last year, they donated mostly sports equipment, but this year, the students went out of their way to fulfill Christmas wish lists by the children at Rainbow Village.
“For the kids, knowing that it’s other students from other areas coming to give back to them means so much more to them than just a bunch of parents donating money,” Kenney said. “Seeing students come and bring them gifts, and then hanging out with them just means a lot to them.”
The Lambert High School Change4Georgia members also regularly visit the Rainbow Village children on Fridays to spend time and act as positive role models.
“More members have been wanting to get involved this year after seeing the pictures of us playing with the kids,” Kenney said. “I’ve had so many football teammates approach me this year asking to help out.”
Remington Youngblood, a student at Lambert High School and the Change4Georgia president, said that they have been receiving great feedback from the school and at Rainbow Village for their partnership.
Kenney and Youngblood delivered the toys and other donations Dec. 15, just in time for the holidays. They said that it was a delight to meet the recipients in person and see the children’s faces light up with joy when they got their presents.
“I’m very proud of the program, and the people that have helped it grow,” said Kenney, who is graduating this year. “It’s always good to leave a program more successful than when it was when I got here.”
Kenney and the football team’s work at Rainbow Village is just one example of the projects created through Change4Georgia. The founder, Youngblood, first started Change4Georgia when he was 10 years old and was unable to find community service opportunities because of his age. His difficulties inspired him to create his own program, which now spans across the Atlanta area and is inclusive for all students.
In Forsyth County alone, there are over 130 student members that tackle service projects for homelessness, the environment, military, literacy and senior citizens.
Change4Georgia regularly holds service and leadership opportunities year round for people of all ages. To learn more and to get involved, visit change4georgia.org.