ADA — Ada Regional United Way, in conjunction with Ada High School's Leadership Program and other local groups, is sponsoring a month-long event designed to promote the same community service and awareness as National Youth Service Day.

"National Youth Service Day is when, across the country, youth are joined together to do service projects around their community," said Tiana Snider, United Way's Success By 6 program coordinator. "But we know that in a community our size and with people's schedules, it's hard to plan just two days, and there's so much more need than two days that in discussion with the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, Campfire USA, Ada High School and Success By 6, we decided to just find out what the need was and then fill the projects over a month long event."

According to the Youth Service America web site, National Youth Service Day is April 21-23 and during these dates, millions of youth will tutor young children, engage in disaster relief, educate their communities about good nutrition and distribute HIV/AIDS prevention materials.

Locally, young adults can choose from various community efforts, such as cleaning flower beds, building sandboxes or even baking cookies.

"I gathered up a list with needs varying from child-care center needs to major things and how many children and volunteers are needed and we sent that list to the Boys and Girls Club and then they get in touch with Ada High School and they're going to allocate people out to do these projects over the course of the month," Snider said.

Crystal Joplin, Leadership teacher and student council sponsor of the Leadership class at Ada High School, said it was a positive event for local youth.

"We're just getting as many kids involved for the community as we can," Joplin said. "We do this a lot, but this is a more organized way to help out. It's just a good thing for our kids to see that by doing little things, it helps out our community."

Campfire USA Region Manager Lori Roberts also echoed the same sentiment.

"We believe it's going to bring more awareness with the youth organization, leadership classes and it will broaden their horizons," she said. "We're really excited to be a part of it."

Upon the completion of the month-long community event, a special affair will be held.

"On, May 13, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., all of the work that has been done is going to culminate in a day activity at the Boys and Girls Club," Snider said. "So all of the older children that have done these projects will then meet up with the younger children at the club and that's where we're really leading heavily with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, we're going to use the children that haven't been matched yet and sort of partner them up with at least a one-day match. They'll play games, learn about mentorship, service to the community, that type of thing. And they'll be able to participate with someone older than them and hopefully that will encourage them to be active in the community when they get older."

Eventually, Snider would like to see a plan like this reach the smaller communities outside of the Ada area.

"One of the things we would like to see happen is bringing in some of the more rural communities, and sort of model this project in Ada," she said. "Then the kids in Roff can do it or the kids in Stonewall, and just sort of get a wave of youth services going throughout these communities. Success By 6 is just glad to be a part of it because it's a way for the community to give back to itself, which is was Success By 6 encourages."

For more information regarding the events, contact Snider at 580-332-3323.

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