Visibility is a key to being known, and one area teenager realized that on his first day helping out at Augusta Urban Ministries.
"I volunteered at Augusta Urban Ministries several summers ago and when I pulled up to the address where it was, I noticed that there wasn't a sign identifying it," said 16-year-old Justin McLendis of Martinez.
McLendis soon decided that he would construct a sign for the downtown business while earning his Eagle Scout badge.
"I thought it was just a really good project," said McLendis, the son of Terry and Dannette McLendis-Miller of Martinez and the late Eric McLendis. "They are really in need of some things there."
With earnings from a summer job, McLendis was able to buy materials and use his talent in drawing to design and build the sign, which was erected last fall.
"I've been drawing since I was 2," said McLendis. "A lot of my family is involved in architecture and design."
Justin McLendis is a 16-year-old student at Lakeside High School. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Red Cross Youth Board.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"The sign definitely has meant a lot to us," said Joseph Butler, the children's program director at Augusta Urban Ministries. "If you ride down here, you wouldn't know we are here and what we do. It's good for people dropping off donations or needing help.
"It's a great PR piece and great for the community to know that we are here changing lives and changing the community," Butler said. "For our agency, it's made a world of difference."
Justin has been a Scout since he was 5. "I do enjoy it," he said. "A lot of my friends I started with ended up quitting, but my mom and I just got together and decided I was going to see it through to the end and earn the highest badge."
McLendis hopes to build on his drawing talents and wants to enter Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., where he will work toward earning a degree in architecture.
"I'm very interested in computers, too," said McLendis, a member of the drama and art clubs at Lakeside High School where he is a junior.
In addition to scouting, McLendis spends much of his time volunteering. He became aware of volunteer opportunities at Augusta Urban Ministries through his work with the American Red Cross' Augusta Chapter, where he serves on the Youth Board. He also has volunteered at Fort Discovery.
"I spend a lot of my time volunteering," said McLendis, who serves as the lead singer in the St. Joseph Church choir. "I get a lot of satisfaction out of it in that I help other people and give back to my community. It opens a lot of opportunities for me."
"My work is with a predominantly inner-city organization which is primarily black," Butler said. "Justin just sets an example for our children. He has a lot of integrity."
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