Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
The Downtown Optimist Club of Meridian announced that this year's recipient of the annual Friend Of Youth Award was Trey Long.
"Trey was recognized for the amazing work that he does helping children through the I John 3:17 and Wesley House organizations," according to a press release.
Long's first effort at community service began three years ago when he jumped at the opportunity to raise funds and then guide the creation of a playground to be built next door to the Wesley House offices that is known as "The Playground for Jesus."
The playground "has become a huge success with the neighborhood providing a safe area for children to gather and play together," according to the press release.
That effort led to an basketball clinic held in the summer and an arts education day where children come to the playground and make their very own art projects.
Not long after the initial development of the playground, Long wanted to do more and he took inspiration from the scripture found in I John 3:17 which states: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
Long created the I John 3:17 organization to raise local funds on a weekly basis to meet needs that cannot be met by the Wesley House. In the past three years, not a week has gone by where the need expressed has not been met, officials said..
"For all his efforts in supporting his community and rallying his community to a cause, the DTOC is proud to award Trey Long the 2012 Friend Of Youth Award," the press release states.
The award included a $250 donation by the DTOC to the charity of Trey’s choice.