By Johnny Jackson
The 2011 Hands on Henry Day will kick off its 13th year early Saturday morning, as hundreds of area residents volunteer their time and energy to improving their community.
Organizers of the community event anticipate that some 2,000 people will volunteer for 52 projects, at 32 different sites, throughout the county.
Hundreds have already pre-registered, according to Eric Littlefield, chairman of the 2011 Hands on Henry Project.
"The best thing about this project is the people of Henry County spending their time to make their community a better place to live and work," said Littlefield, also a member of the Leadership Henry Class of 2011.
Volunteers embrace the one-day event as a way to "give back" to the community and to make a difference in enhancing the "curb appeal" of the county.
"It's exciting," said Mary Ann Hills, a member of the project's volunteer committee. "It's one of the biggest events I've ever participated in. It's been an opportunity to meet, for people in the community, to see our county cleaner, and to see the spirit of volunteerism alive in our county."
Like Littlefield, Hills is a graduating member of the Leadership Henry Class of 2011, a year-long leadership program of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce. Its culminating event is the Hands on Henry Project, in which the graduating class is responsible for planning, organizing and implementing the community service project.
Six months in the making, the project will only last about four hours, from 8 a.m., until noon, said Littlefield. Volunteers will work to help beautify and repair properties at various sites, including local non-profit organizations, schools, and other public spaces.
Volunteers, who want to register on the day of the event, are asked to meet in the cafeteria of Henry County High School, located at 401 East Tomlinson Street in McDonough. The window for day-of registration is from 7:30 a.m., until 8:30 a.m., on Saturday, April 16.
Littlefield said those volunteers who have pre-registered can meet at their assigned locations. Pre-registration sign-up is available online until 5 p.m., Friday, April 15, at www.handsonhenry.org.
Volunteers will get a Hands On Henry T-shirt for participating, four tickets to Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder, and coupons from Chick-fil-A.