In two weeks, the 13th annual Great Days of Service will take on over 300 projects with use of 80,000 volunteers in Gwinnett County. The scope of this event alone is impressive, but did you know that we have also inspired a community halfway around the world?
A few years ago, Suzy Bus, the Director of the Gwinnett Helpline at the Gwinnett Coalition, was working with James, a regular volunteer and US citizen who immigrated from Nigeria. James had always been fascinated with the support that Great Days of Service and the Gwinnett Coalition provided back to the community and was regularly found volunteering at the Gwinnett Coalition and the Gwinnett Helpline. He also made an annual trip to his village in Nigeria to deliver bicycles that he collected through the year so that residents of the community had a mode of transportation to get to work.
On this particular day, Suzy and James were cleaning out one of the store rooms and came across leftover t-shirts from a previous year’s Great Days of Service. James asked Suzy, if they did not need the t-shirts, could he deliver the outdated shirts with the bikes on his next trip to Nigeria. They were just taking up space, so Suzy sent the shirts with him.
A few months passed and Suzy had not thought much about the trip or James until he stopped by to see her and share with her the impact of this small gesture. Suzy recalls, “I won’t forget when James found me when he came back from his trip. He thanked me again for the shirts, but then he shared a little story with me. He said that the villagers asked what Great Days of Service and the Gwinnett Coalition were. He of course told them, but they kept asking him about it the whole time he was there. The villagers in Nigeria were so inspired by the idea, that they have since set up their own coalition to support their community. And to top it off, the leaders of their coalition are required to wear a uniform, the donated Great Days of Service t-shirts.
I just could not believe that such a small action could have such a big, positive impact on a place so far away. This is why we do what we do.”
“We don’t do any of this for notoriety, we do this to make the world we live in a better place” says Amanda Sutt, Great Days of Service executive committee member. “And you never know how far a small gesture will reach until you see the smile on the face of someone where you have instilled hope when it was all but lost.”
There is still time to sign up to be a part of this year’s Great Days of Service. You can sign up online and follow us on Facebook to keep up with projects. The last day to sign up to volunteer is Friday, September 28th.
Last year, 80,000 volunteers for Gwinnett Great Days of Service completed over 300 community projects including staffing community events, painting and repairing buildings, installing playground sets, and cleaning up nature trails. The event is hosted by the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services in partnership with United Way of North Metro Atlanta.
The Gwinnett Great Days of Service is sponsored by: Primerica, United Way of Metro Atlanta, Arthur A Buck Jones Nursery, Nordson, Gwinnett Medical Center, Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia, Gem Shopping Network, FIS Global, Hands on Atlanta, Wells Fargo, Hayes James Engineering, Andersen, Tate & Carr, Myers Group, GCPS Foundation, The Atlanta Community Tool Bank, Gwinnett Braves and Do Good Rewards.