Sweeping, scrubbing on weekend agenda for Boys and Girls Club

Feb. 06, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Led by the Youth of the Year, about a dozen people from the Boys and Girls Club of Sanford/Lee County will head up to Chapel Hill this weekend to spruce up the Ronald McDonald House.

Gregory Newell, the local teen who was named Youth of the Year a few months ago, said he’s more excited for the chance to help out than to practice his leadership skills.

“I want to give back to this community and to others outside of it,” he said.

William Johnson, the teen director for the Boys and Girls Club, said he told Newell to take over the service project — which the club has done before but not in the past few years.

“I’m going to put him right in the fire,” Johnson said, adding that he, Newell, a helper from Wilson and Reives Attorneys at Law and about 10 club teens will be cleaning a pretty big building that needs a lot of work: “I’m talking about vacuuming, washing the windows, dusting — the whole nine yards.”

Ronald McDonald Houses have hundreds of locations around the world and serve as a place where families of children receiving chronic medical care can stay instead of commuting or paying for a hotel room. Chronic care refers to long-term illnesses like heart disease, cancer, sickle cell disease and other conditions. Chapel Hill is home to the N.C. Children’s Hospital, which serves about 200,000 sick or injured children every year, as well as a host of other hospitals and medical providers.

Johnson said Wilson and Reives was kind enough to volunteer one of their employees, Shawanda Gill, as well as all the cleaning supplies they’ll need for this weekend. But he said this is just one of many volunteering opportunities coming up, and anyone who wants to help out with projects in the future is welcome to call the club at (919) 776-3525 and ask for him.

And if Newell has his way, there’ll be lots of opportunities for people to pitch in.

“I believe this is going to be the foundation of something more,” he said. “I believe that this year, 2013, Sanford is going to see a lot of improvements from our club and the adults that follow us.”