By Emily West, Correspondent
This past Saturday morning, the Youth Advisory Commission (YAC) of the City of Belton held its ninth annual “One Community, One Day” Event, sending approximately 200 volunteers to 23 homes in and around the town. Volunteers from the Belton Police Department, First Baptist Belton, City Staffing, and other local groups contributed to their community by helping the less fortunate with yard work and landscaping during their hours of public service this weekend.
“I came out here because I enjoy it,” commented Roger Peacock, a Belton retiree and police department affiliate, as he moved felled limbs from the backyard of a home where a BPD team was volunteering. “I’ve done it three years so far,” he continued. “It’s a fun thing to do with all the camaraderie. You’re doing something for the community and it isn’t costing you anything, so you might as well just go do it.” The volunteers trimmed trees, pulled weeds, mowed lawns, raked leaves, and collected litter all morning, and each one of them was beaming with Belton pride as he worked.
Brenda Ingram, an avid educator of special needs children whose home benefitted from the efforts of the “One Community, One Day” volunteers expressed overwhelming gratitude for the extra help. “I have about three quarters of an acre, and it goes all the way back there,” she explained, pointing behind her house. “They’ve come out here for the past three years to help me out, because I’m a single parent, and the cost of living only goes up these days. It’s so wonderful to have their help so that I don’t have to take time out of my busy work-week.”
“It was our church (First Baptist Belton) that notified us of the opportunity to come out here and serve,” stated Amy McLaughlin, as she and her two-year-old daughter, Ellie, worked together to clear up trimmed branches from the grass. “We have a life group based in the church, and we do a volunteer project every quarter, so we decided to come out here and do this one.”
“The Youth Advisory Committee,” explained Matt Bates, Belton’s Director of Parks and Recreation, “is basically city council on a junior level… They do a whole host of things, but this (One Community, One Day) is their main project each year. They send out applications and basically just ask anyone who lives in Belton, ‘Do you need help, and what can we help you with?’” The YAC was established here in Belton by Mayor Marion Grayson, and its 42 active members function almost completely autonomously. Their only aid from the city is a liaison from city council: Matt Bates, Director of Parks and Recreation. Christina Gaw, the current chairwoman of the Committee and senior at Belton High School, expressed her excitement for the way that the YAC has prepared her for her upcoming transition to university studies. She plans to be involved in many campus groups and to take on even greater responsibility than she has already done here in Belton’s community.
For more information on the YAC, please visit their page on the City of Belton’s website.