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GNLI class projects affect community

Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute is an intensive, seven-month program that trains, empowers and supports residents and community leaders. This year's GNLI commencement will be at noon on March 21 at Georgia Gwinnett College.

During the program, class members are divided into groups to complete a community project. Here are the projects undertaken by the Class of 2009:

Annandale Mile

"Team Moovers" from the GNLI Class 2009, revitalized "The Annandale Mile" at Annandale Village in Suwanee. The Annandale Mile is a walking path around the facility that helps Villagers maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Shrubs and flowers were planted to help beautify the walk path. Several safety signs were installed. Annandale residents helped paint and plant flowers along the path.

Annandale Village in Suwanee provides a safe haven for adults with developmental disabilities. The campus consists of eight residences, an assisted living home, a skilled nursing center and community center.

Team Moovers are John Bush, Keith Van Nus, Greg McFarland, and Melanie.

Be Aware Gwinnett

"Be Aware Gwinnett" is a public awareness campaign that will use the online community to link residents to information on a range of issues, such as domestic violence, quality of life code enforcement, education, sex offenders and gangs.

The campaign makes banner ads available to community Web sites, such as those operated by homeowners associations, churches, etc. Those banners link readers to civic and governmental Web sites that offer news and background information on several community topics. Partners are Gwinnett County Code Enforcement, Gwinnett County Quality of Life, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Partners Against Domestic Violence and the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department.

Team members are Bryan James, Donald Sequeira and Gerald McDowell.

The site is expected to roll out this month. A preview can be viewed at www.avalonforest.org.

Going green

Members of GNLI are supporting South Gwinnett High School's effort to recycle plastic and aluminum for the Go Green project. High school organizations are collecting the material for recycling through this month at South Gwinnett High School basketball games. The drive is a flagship project designed to raise the environmental consciousness and reduce the size of our carbon footprint. The project's intent is to provide a template for similar drives that can be held at other athletic events and replicated in all Gwinnett County schools.

All the work is conducted by the students with school leadership and members of the GNLI team, Regina Bush, Sherman Merritt, Jenn Thornton, and Rita Williams.

Family Conference

The Family Support Group of the GNLI will be hosting its first annual Title I Gwinnett Family Conference March 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross. The conference is designed to educate and engage parents with specific issues addressing special needs/special education, grandparents raising grandchildren, college readiness/financial-aid, violence prevention, fatherhood involvement and more.

The event will include a lunch, break-out sessions and a resource fair with more than 50 agencies and non-profits.

The event is free and open to the public. Child care will be available at no cost. To register, contact: June Harris, 678-245-3482 or Mr. Gomez- 678-638-2359.

Volunteering Directory

GNLI and Gwinnett United in Drug Education (GUIDE) will be updating their Volunteering Across Gwinnett resource directory. The directory lists non-profit and health and human service agencies in Gwinnett that offer volunteer opportunities for youth and families. The group is also building an online database accessible through GUIDE's Web site. The new directory will be unveiled in March.

For more info e-mail Davida Baker at dlbakers@comcast.net.

Culturefest 2009

Culturefest 2009, a family friendly, one-day cultural festival, was scheduled for Saturday at the Global Mall in Norcross.

According to a press release issued by Vision Gwinnett, the GNLI group organizing the event, "Gwinnett County is home to a diverse population from many cultures. Our goal is to provide a venue that will bring these cultures together and showcase their unique customs, foods, dance and music. Culturefest 2009 will be an opportunity to learn about your neighbors and for them to learn about you!"

Team members are Paris Brooklyn-Baker, Katina Dixon, Genevieve Prieur, Nancy Trujillo and William White.