Blog post written by Grayson Bourke, City Year AmeriCorps member serving on the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Team at James Madison Academic Campus

Global Youth Service Day is a global event that empowers youth to make positive changes in their communities.

On April 6th, 56 freshmen,  and community school partners such as Violence Free Zone, James Madison Academic Campus staff collaborated with City Year Milwaukee on a neighborhood cleanup in the community surrounding James Madison Academic Campus.

We broke down the neighborhood into three manageable sectors and tackled a sector of each neighborhood with groups of students. I brought groups of freshmen down Florist St. across from the school, around the track, and down 83rd Street. The whole experience brought me great joy to see our freshmen work collaboratively, participate in something bigger than themselves and see their civic efficacy increase.

One of the students, who often has A LOT of energy in class, was so happy I invited him to participate in Global Youth Service Day that he told his counselor on his walk back into the school, “Ms. Hull, I just cleaned up the neighborhood!” He shared that the experience was very meaningful for him.

In addition to fighting civic apathy and building environmental consciousness, students who wanted to, received a small bag of groceries (donated by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County and Charter Automotive) to bring home as a token of my appreciation! Consequently, the neighborhood around James Madison Academic Campus is eighteen black bags of trash cleaner as a result of our students’ hard work.

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