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Volunteers take time to help out
Nearly 400 volunteers from Glynn County rolled up their sleeves Thursday and Friday to transform the Needwood Boys and Girls Club into a unique educational environment.

Volunteers from almost every major employer in Glynn County, including Southeast Georgia Health System, Jekyll Island Authority, Rich Products, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and King and Prince Seafood, worked during the campaign to produce a comfortable and safe home for the Needwood Boys and Girls Club.

The project was targeted by United Way of Coastal Georgia's Days of Caring campaign.

Volunteers turned the club's white walls into a colorful learning environment, while others worked to landscape an outdoor education area.

The area will be used for club members, Needwood Middle School and C.B. Greer Elementary School students during the school year.

Dave Raczynski, energy manager for the Glynn County school system, has watched the Needwood Middle School outdoor education area transform over the years. Originally designated as a Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat, it will provide a unique learning environment.

"It just creates a great learning environment for our kids to get out of the classroom and outside and into the sunshine where they belong," he said.

The estimated cost of all donated materials and labor is $75,000, said Missy Neu, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Coastal Georgia.

The large number of volunteers made the campaign a true community event, she said.

"It's an opportunity to really connect with our community," Neu said. "They just come out like an army of ants and get it done."

Cliff Gawron, landscape director for the Jekyll Island Authority, oversaw volunteers on the landscaping project.

"It's really important to remember that we're part of the community," Gawron said.

Members of the Needwood Boys and Girls Club spent their time during the two-day renovation on Jekyll Island visiting attractions like Summer Waves Water Park, Tidelands Nature Center and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center at no cost.

Brian Dolan, director of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, expects club members will be overjoyed with the changes when they return Monday.

"It's just a really good collaboration between the community," he said. "The kids are really excited. They got to see a taste of it (Thursday)."

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