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Challenge participants honored for cleaning up community

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Seven groups took home cash prizes as part of the 2012 Great American Cleanup Gwinnett Challenge.

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful announced the award winners, chosen from more than 40 participants, who designed projects to make the biggest transportation of their neighborhood. The winners took home $500 cash prizes.

"This Challenge allows community groups to demonstrate their stewardship and pride in Gwinnett by working to make our community cleaner, safer and more livable," said Connie Wiggins of Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.

In all, more than 15,000 people participated in 247 projects in this year's Great American Cleanup Challenge, which was held from mid-March through the end of May. The volunteers collected more than 1 million pounds of recyclables, removed 80,841 pounds of litter, trash and debris, painted a mile of fencing and cleand up 195 miles of roadway, a press release said.

"Your efforts show how much you care for our community," the organization's chairman Bartow Morgan said while thanking participants. "The difference you make every day ensures that Gwinnett is the best place to live, work, play and learn."

-- The Green-up Your Neighborhood Award went to Brookwood Oaks Home Owner Association, which gave 46 hours to improve their neighborhood. Participants cleaned 2 miles of roadway, collected 12 bags of recyclables and planted 20 trees and shrubs.

-- The Stash the Trash Award went to Mill Creek High School Key Club, which removed litter and privet from Little Mulberry Park. In the project, 85 volunteers donated 255 hours to make the county park cleaner.

-- The Beautify Your Space winner is the Lawrenceville Neighborhood Alliance, which gathered 14 volunteers to replace a rotten roof on an elderly neighbors' house. These volunteers gave more than 180 hours of their time to restor an unsafe and unsightly eyesore.

-- The Put Litter in Place winner is the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association, where volunteers removed 44 bags of litter and debris from Peachtree Corners Circle.

-- The Recycle Now Award went to Teachers As Leaders, which collected more than 1,100 books to give to children being treated at Gwinnett Medical Center. With this project, children receive a free book when they check out of the hospital.

-- The Wipeout Graffiti winner is Primerica, where participants painted more than 660 feet of fencing to remove old graffiti along Old Norcross Road.

-- The Grow Green winner is Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners, whose volunteers built and planted three vegetable and flower gardens at Sheltering Arms. Children at this facility care for the gardens and are producing vegetables for use at the daycare center, the release said.