Giving Back: Fort Hood Youth Center Wins Recycling Award | Herald of Fort Hood

Twelve Comanche Youth Center students are giving back and having a positive impact on their peers and the Fort Hood community. Students form the Comanche Torch Club, which creates volunteer opportunities and inspires young people to make meaningful change. The club took on the challenge to participate in the Greater Fort Hood Area Recycle Bowl and recycle paper, cardboard and plastic materials, winning third place.

On behalf of the Cen-Tex Sustainable Communities Partnership, Fort Hood Garrison Command Sgt. Major Matthew Ladd recognized the students on February 15.

“For each of you who attended this event, thank you for volunteering,” Ladd said. “Thank you for being a leader to help us be better.”

The recycling competition is part of an initiative called the Young Environmental Ambassadors! program sponsored by the Cen-Tex partnership and the school liaison office’s Adopt-A-School program. YEAH! promotes sustainability throughout the school year, encouraging students to participate in several initiatives that promote waste prevention, conservation, recycling and beautification.

“The steps you are all taking are absolutely important. You help ensure that my children have no trouble having clean air, clean water and green space to walk and play,” Ladd said. “One small step at a time, you are moving us in the right direction.”

Sixth grader Adelynn Parker attributed the club’s victory to teamwork and a willingness to help others.

“We all contributed a lot,” she said. “You may not think you alone are special, but you are, and together we can make a big difference.”

Pamela Cruz, co-sponsor of the Comanche Torch Club, said the students’ volunteer spirit shows how leaders they already are and a reflection of what’s to come.

“The Torch Club just amazes me,” she said. “They communicate and delegate to accomplish any task. You can see their enthusiasm and know later in the future that they will continue to do great things.

Encouraging others to do great things, Parker challenged soldiers who aren’t already retraining to reconsider.

“You might think retraining is too hard, but you’re in the military where it’s a lot harder,” she said.

Linda Allen, director of the Comanche Youth Center, believes that mentoring young people to become dynamic leaders is a collective effort between staff, parents and the example set by students.

“It makes me feel good and proud of my staff and the young people we serve here every day. Not only that, but parents are also involved,” she said. “When they see other kids doing it, then they’re like, ‘OK, let me do it.’ Recognition today allows their peers to see what they have done and encourages them further.

Recognition from the Torch Club is an example of how students strengthen Fort Hood’s recycling program through volunteerism and service.

“Keep pressuring your peers to do the right thing,” Ladd said. “Thank you all for what you have done and what you will continue to do.”

Learn more about the Cen-Tex Sustainable Communities partnership and the Young Environmental Ambassadors! program, visit

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