Citizen of the Week: Alberto Pedro

Alberto Pedro loved soccer as a child. But his opportunities to play organized soccer were limited as a young boy.

"His father worked until 7 at night, and his mother did not drive," said his wife Malisa. "So he developed a dream of making sure that other kids would have that opportunity."

Alberto Pedro, who recently finished a bachelor's degree in social work at Dalton State College, has volunteered for three summers with City of Refuge's summer and after-school education programs as a driver, tutor and mentor. He also serves as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking families taking part in the agency's services.

City of Refuge provides services to low-income families, including transitional housing, a food pantry, a clothing store, education programs for both children and adults, and hot meals.

Whitney Cawood, director of marketing for City of Refuge, said Pedro is a volunteer who is always looking to make a difference in the community and for the agency.

And that shows in his newest project.

"On his own initiative, he started a Kid City soccer team. Kid City is the name of our after-school program," said Malisa Pedro, who is director of education for City of Refuge.

"He established relationships with some of the kids in our summer program and asked if they would be interested in playing on a soccer team," Malisa Pedro said. "He picks these kids up in our City of Refuge van for practice at our indoor soccer field and takes them home. He also transports them to their games if their parents can't. He also found a sponsor to pay for their uniforms and registration fees. These kids have played a lot of street soccer, recess soccer, but a lot of them have never played on an actual team. So he's really been teaching them about the game. And you can see their growth from week to week, how much they are looking more like a team. Their families are so proud of them and love watching them."

For his many efforts to help young people in Dalton, the Daily Citizen-News names Alberto Pedro Citizen of the Week.

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