It all started with an idea.
Remington Youngblood, 11, of Duluth had the idea to help serve the needs of those who serve the country.
When he was 10 years old, he founded Change 4 Georgia, a community service program that collects wish list items for troops and their families.
On Wednesday, he shared his vision with the local community at Gainesville State College, invited there by the Center for Adult Learners and Military at the college.
Change 4 Georgia assists troops by providing supplies that will fit inside a backpack. The items are generally not readily available but add comfort to the soldier’s lives while they’re away. The program also benefits military families year-round by packing backpacks with school supplies for children.
The items his organization collects include various packaged foods, personal care items like dental floss and toothpaste and other items like phone cards, DVDs and playing cards.
Youngblood said it was difficult getting involved with community service projects because of his age.
That’s why his program is inclusive to students and encourages schools to get involved by holding drives and starting school chapters. More information, including a complete wish list and information on starting a chapter, can be found on the Change 4 Georgia website, www.Change4Georgia.org.
More than 70 businesses support the organization’s efforts and more than 15 Forsyth County schools are helping by holding donation drives. The newest school to start a chapter is Friendship Elementary School in Flowery Branch.
Change 4 Georgia has collected and sent thousands of items overseas to the men and women in the military with the help of VFW Post 9143.
During his presentation, Youngblood passionately thanked those who serve in the military.
“When I encounter a challenging task, I think of the men and women fighting for our country,” Youngblood said.
Several veterans watched the young man, and a few state senators, too.
Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, spoke in support of the efforts Youngblood has made to help men and women in the military and their families.
He said too often young people are absent in the process of democracy and forsake the values and morals that the country was founded on.
Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, said it was refreshing to see a young man getting so involved with his community. He praised Youngblood for not only reaching out to support veterans and those currently serving but also their families by providing school supplies to students.
He said Youngblood was “nothing less than inspiring.”
Murphy encouraged others to get involved with the cause, even by doing something as simple as asking if a military family needs anything while their loved one is serving the country away from home.
Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, presented Youngblood with the establishment of the Remington Youngblood Student Veteran Scholarship on behalf of the Gainesville State College Foundation and the president of Gainesville State College. The scholarship was created by professor Tonya Butler-Collins and Vincent Ramsey through their work with CALM.
Miller encouraged Youngblood to continue dreaming and not be discouraged if people think his dreams are too lofty.
He gave the young man a word of advice: “When you tell your dreams to others two things will happen. They’ll help you accomplish those dreams, that’s the good part, but the bad part is they’ll hold you accountable to them.”