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Volunteers Honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a Day of Service - WFMJ

Volunteers spent Monday cleaning out and clearing the way for a renewed Youngstown community.

"I think it brings a sense of pride and accomplishment for everybody, not just the volunteers today, but for the community as a whole," said Jack Daugherty with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.

Folks with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, AmeriCorp and the City of Youngstown spent four hours sprucing up the area near Youngstown's Taft Elementary School. Nail by nail, volunteers secured the 15 properties, left vacant by their owners.

"It's a lot of planning. It's a huge process, but it's well worth it," said volunteer David Tamulonis of Poland.

"The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and its partners choose this neighborhood on East Avondale Avenue in Youngstown because of its close proximity to the elementary school. Volunteers hope their work will make the neighborhood safer for students who walk to the school.

"We came upon these houses that were gang-tatted, drug paraphernalia, just all kind of criminal activity going on. So, we just wanted to get this cleaned up and safe for the children to walk because also the children are going into these houses and playing," said Anika Jacobs-Green with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The group chose Martin Luther King Junior Day to serve the south side community as a tribute to the late reverend's legacy.

"The fact that it is bringing us together as a community, us together as one, so that we are not saying it is a black thing or it is a white thing. It is a Youngstown thing and that's just what it is, bringing the community together," said volunteer Martina Boyd of Youngstown.

To see the full story from WFMJ, click here.