We are a youth football and cheer program for kids. We are located on Route 1 in Alexandria, Virginia 22306. We are located at Gum Springs Community Center and our name is Gum Springs Youth Athletic Association (GSYAA).

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Here are the essays of our Thumbs up Contest winners. Both of the essays are very well-written and display their commitment to their community and their future. Congratulations Cameron and Jaedon!
 
 
1st place -- Cameron Coleman: Thumbs Up Contest Essay
 
 My mom has always taught my brother and me that it is important to help people and give back to the community especially if you have achieved success. She says that we should be of service to people and also encourage them to pay it forward.
 
 My father, mother, and brother are volunteers and I have helped feed the homeless at my church's food bank and also contributed food with my own money. I plan to continue to help after football season is over because it is on a day when we have football practice.
 
I am also a safety patrol, which is through my school, but I help to control the noise and keep order on my bus. This helps the bus driver who really appreciates it. The kids listen to me and respect me because they know me from my community. Also, at two different times, I have had to walk smaller kids home because there was no one at their bus stop to pick them up.
 
It really makes me feel good when I have helped someone. It is also a good way to get to know the people in the community and they know you. I believe that helping and communicating with others in my community makes it a better community and we are much happier. I plan to continue  do community service as I get older. Schools are now requiring that kids do community service so my experience will help me a great deal when I get to high school.
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2nd place -- Jaedon Pearson: Giving Back To My Community

I think to give back to my community is helping out in my community. I can help 

by picking up the trash on the ground, and help keep the playground clean. I can 

help neighbors with cutting there grass, and also pass out food to the homeless 

people who live in my community. I help my dad wash our cars so when people are 

outside cleaning there cars I can ask do they need any help. We had a big snow 

storm and I helped with digging peoples cars out of the snow. I can help people 

take there groceries in the house. The maintenance crew comes around in our 

neighbor hood a lot and I like to watch them do work. I can ask them if I can 

help them when they are cutting down bushes or raking up the leaves. I see a lot of 

senior citizens in my neighborhood and I want to start helping them more. I have 

a lot of friends in my neighborhood and I want to continue to make new friends, 

especially to those who are moving in. It is really important for the new neighbors 

to feel welcomed and I can do that by giving a friendly smile and hello. The Lord 

is pleased when we treat our neighbors well. I love pleasing my Father in heaven. 

My parents tell me it is good to do good unto others. They show me in the Bible 

where we are to love one another and by giving back to my community that shows 

them that I love them.