Volunteers needed for community build

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett volunteers will be shoveling, measuring and cutting next week as they build playgrounds for a new early education center at Gwinnett Technical College.

More than 1,000 community members have already signed up to work on the community build. They will work in teams to build two outdoor playgrounds for the newly constructed D. Scott Hudgens Jr. Early Education Center in Lawrenceville.

Lorri Christopher, institutional advancement officer for the Gwinnett Tech Foundation, estimates they will still need between 300 and 400 volunteers to make the build a success.

She is optimistic about the new center, which will train teachers of young children, and will serve as an early education and development center for 220 preschool children. The 26,000-square-foot facility will open its doors July 10 for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.

"One of our biggest challenges is enabling children entering schools to be ready to learn," Christopher said. "And supporting 220 children is one benefit. But the greater benefit is being able to provide 400 qualified early education teachers trained every year for the community."

The build will kick off at 8 a.m. April 25 and go until 2 p.m. on April 29. Volunteers are invited to work for a few hours or stay all day. Free child care will be available for children under 10 years of age that are potty trained. All volunteers will also get free refreshments, meals and T-shirts.

There will be separate teams for skilled volunteers who can use power tools, measure and cut and unskilled volunteers who will be carrying, assembling, sanding, shoveling and serving as a carpenter's helper.

Children older than 10 are also invited to volunteer alongside their parents or guardians. Christopher has been recruiting volunteers of all ages through local Boys & Girls Clubs, high schools, the business community, Hands on Atlanta and the United Way.

"What I hope they'll get out of it is a chance to see what a community effort does and learn how much fun it is to volunteer and to be able to drop by afterward and look at what they built," Christopher said.