“…A petite curly-haired girl with chocolate eyes and faint dimples stood beside the exit doors of the Fine Fare supermarket on East 163rd Street in Hunts Point on a late winter afternoon. Bigger, louder children overshadowed her, but her persistence paid off when a man took a can of peaches from his red cart, and placed it in Fiantisha Santos’s hands.
For most youngsters, Saturday mornings are a time to sleep late and watch cartoons, but Fiantisha volunteers with a program called Young Heroes, and the kids from Young Heroes spend their Saturdays in activities like collecting food for the homeless and hungry. An 11-year-old sixth-grader who has been with the program for a year, she said, “I like the program because it’s a lot of fun,” and “because I help the community, and because it makes my parents proud.”
“I don’t miss watching cartoons at all,” agreed 11-year-old Hunts Point resident Zaire Perry. “I don’t care about waking up early either, because I have a lot of fun helping the community.”
Young Heroes is a program of City Year, a nationwide volunteer organization affiliated with AmeriCorps. Daren Mills, the service leader for Young Heroes in the Bronx, describes it as a “community service and leadership development program for sixth through eighth graders that engages the community, and works to make the students become the future leaders.”…”
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