Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Volunteers Fix Up Children's Home; Military Muscle Gets Job Done

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Volunteers Fix Up Children's Home; Military Muscle Gets Job Done

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland, Staff writer

They showed up before 8 a.m., alert, even eager, to weed, rake, tear down an old wooden fence and dip their brushes into beige paint.

But that's no surprise to those who've seen these Navy volunteers in action in the past.

"They volunteer thousands and thousands of hours a year," said Cindie Badger, volunteer coordinator and a social services representative at Mayport Naval Station. "They just like to do it and have fun doing so."

This time they were sprucing up the Children's Home Society campus at 3027 San Diego Road on the Southside as part of JaxPride Week. It was one of 19 projects that 1,800 volunteers worked on Feb. 22-March 2 during the annual event designed to improve the city's appearance.

During the week, neighborhoods, civic associations, schools, businesses, government agencies and non-profit groups worked on such projects as creating window box gardens, learning about historic preservation and neighborhood clean-ups, said Shirley Dasher, executive director of the non-profit citizens coalition.

Originally, the Children's Home Society project was to be done over a two-day period. But so many volunteered that they were able to do it in one day, Feb. 26, said Joan Connolly, a development specialist with the agency.

"They greatly improved the appearance of the campus," Connolly said. "We are just delighted. Our buildings are starting to show their age, and we need help from the community to improve the appearance."

The volunteers painted parts of the outside and inside of the administration building. They weeded, raked and bagged debris. They tore down an old wooden fence and built a new one.

Connolly said it's important to provide a nice environment for visitors and children served by the agency, whose services include foster care, adoption, counseling, emergency shelters and case management. …

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