Type to search

Tucker’s MLK Day of Service event draws a crowd of volunteers to city park

Trending Tucker

Tucker’s MLK Day of Service event draws a crowd of volunteers to city park

Photo by Sara Amis

Tucker, GA — All over Atlanta and all over the country, people celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with service projects. In Tucker, taking that day of service outdoors has been a tradition since well before the city was incorporated in 2016.

The mission at Johns Homestead Park this year was simple: pull up invasive English ivy by the roots, to give native plants a chance to grow. Native species will be planted later in the year to support wildlife in the park. 

Ninety-eight people showed up, of all ages and backgrounds and from both near and far. 

Sherry Guerrero, her wife Shae Trotter, and their daughter Pemma drove from Woodstock.

“We were looking for events to do during Martin Luther King Day, and we found this trail cleanup,” Guerrero said, adding that being outside was a draw.

“It’s really fun, and it’s helping nature,” Pemma said.

Jayden Mosley, Sophia Gallo, and Ryle Jordan, a trio of National Honor Society students from Lakeside High School, said that 14 volunteer hours per semester is part of club membership.

Mosley said that he enjoyed being out in the woods with his friends and that pulling up the ivy was a good workout.

Beth White Ganga, who is head of Friends of Johns Homestead, said that volunteers are crucial to a years-long improvement project for the park. As part of a funding agreement with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the organization and the City of Tucker committed to matching a $2.5 million grant with $13,000 and 1500 volunteer hours.

Along with the native plant restoration project, the grant will be used for several needed improvements, including boardwalks, trail markers, a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible fishing pier, and repair of the dams at Twin Brothers Lakes.

Ganga said that the dams, which were built in the 1950s, are aging and potentially dangerous. Without repair to the dams, the only safe alternative would be to drain the lakes.

Without a core group of volunteers, grant-funded projects like the one at Johns Homestead would not be possible.

“We have one of the most active volunteer bases in all of Atlanta,” Ganga said.

City Councilmember Virginia Rece and Mayor Pro Tem Cara Schroeder also emphasized that volunteers make things happen.

“I love the passion of volunteerism that we have in our city. Tucker has such a wonderful group of volunteers who show up every time, whether it’s for the park or any other event,” Rece said.

Schroeder said that she feels it is important to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. by serving the community, in whatever way presents itself.

Schroeder added that Tucker’s spirit of volunteerism is part of what created the city in the first place, and that spirit coalesced around the parks and volunteer days, including annual MLK Day events.

“It was a group of like-minded friends…Now we’re twenty years in,” Schroeder said. “…..We’ve accomplished a lot.”

Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here.

If you appreciate our work on this story, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $6 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about your community.