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YACS students help community

CONYERS - Students and teachers at Young Americans Christian School got a break from normal school day activities Wednesday, but they didn't take it easy.

About 600 students and staff members from the Conyers private school spent the day at various locations around the community cleaning and doing other volunteer work as part of its annual Others Day.

This year, the school participants went to such locations as the Elks Aidmore Children's Center, the Miracle League Field, Camp Westminster, the Yellow River and several retirement homes and assisted living centers, among others. Many of the volunteers helped clean up several sites, and some younger students presented programs to certain retirement centers they visited.

YACS Director Jan Taylor said the students "absolutely" have fun when they participate in this day and the educators enjoy encouraging them to help others.

"It's wonderful to watch them leave the building with rakes, shovels and old tennis shoes on," she said. "It's touching."

Others Day is a program that will help the school purchase a third bus that will take students on field trips and to athletic events. The program also will help the school make a donation to a Walton County community organization, The Fish, which helps feed children who are not in school over the summer.

"It is a fundraiser, but it does go to help other people in the community, so it's a win-win situation," Taylor said.

The school's goal was to purchase the $43,000 bus and donate $10,000 to The Fish - the school met that goal Thursday and could see more funds come in later, Taylor said.

"It's amazing in today's economy that we were able to do that," she said, adding that school families and community members contribute to the fundraiser. "We put a lot of prayer into it."

This year, no other schools participated in the Others Day event, as in the past, but Taylor said they plan to invite other schools to participate in it next year.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.