Dragon Con, an internationally known fantasy and sci-fi convention, has launched a Superheroes community service program for members and fans in the Atlanta area.

More than 75 volunteers of all ages turned out for the inaugural service project at Sweetwater Creek State Park on March 8, an event organized in partnership with Georgia Conservancy.

girl volunteers as part of Dragon Con's Superhero programThe group installed trail map kiosks, cleaned the visitor center and picnic shelters, and maintained 9 miles of trail and 6 miles of river.

They also collected 20 bags of trash from the park's trails along the river and "enough footballs, softballs, wiffle balls and tennis balls to sponsor an elementary school," according to a news release.

"Dragon Con people are a family," Rachel Reeves, convention co-chair, said. "This was just a terrific opportunity to bring the family together to have some fun and give back to the metro area that gives us all so much."

The Superheroes have three more projects planned for the year.

The next event will be the Walk to End Lupus at Piedmont Park on April 26, and on May 24, the Superheroes will sort and pack food items for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Dragon Con's official charity for 2014.

One out of five Georgians is food insecure, meaning they don't know where their next meal will come from.

As its official charity, Dragon Con will match up to $50,000 any money raised for the food bank during the annual convention in September.

"The money that Dragon Con fans and members donate each year is very important to the charities we support, but these organizations also need volunteers to help them carry out their missions," Reeves said. "The Superheroes program lets our fans come together as friends while making a difference in the community."

The final Superheroes project will be scheduled in the days before the convention, giving out-of-town members an opportunity to participate.

Any volunteers who participate in a project will receive a Superheroes T-shirt and be invited to an exclusive celebration during Dragon Con 2014.

Last year, Dragon Con raised more than $87,000 for its three official charities, and since it began in 2005, the convention has raised almost $311,000 for charity.

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Dragon Con 'Superheroes' perform heroic deeds
Fans of the fantasy and sci-fi convention are acting as real-life superheroes and giving back to the Atlanta community.