More than 30 adult and youth residents participated in Reid Park’s clean-up.
On the sunny Saturday morning of October 4th, residents of the historic Reid Park neighborhood in west Charlotte gathered at the Amay James Recreation Center for a morning of service. Following a brief presentation about how to separate trash from recyclables, they split into three groups and picked up litter from the grounds of the recreation center, Reid Park Academy, and neighborhood streets. Three hours later, approximately 900 gallons of trash and 450 gallons of recyclables had been collected, along with two pickup truck loads of bulk waste.
All hands were on deck to keep bulk waste out of the natural environment!
Reid Park is one of five neighborhoods that Sustain Charlotte welcomed to our Sustainable Neighborhoods Program in 2014. The neighborhood association had identified sustainability challenges in the past and engaged in a number of initiatives over the years to address them. During their visioning workshops with Sustain Charlotte, we facilitated a discussion in which residents updated and clearly defined their community’s most urgent needs. At the top of that list was the ongoing problem of littering and illegal dumping of bulk items (appliances, furniture, electronics) near the creek, leading to overall degradation of the environment and trash entering the water.
Illegally dumped waste was found all along Amay James Ave between the road and creek.
Sustain Charlotte provided $500 to the neighborhood association to fund the clean-up day. The immediate goal of the project was to remove thousands of pieces of litter from the neighborhood, including everything from candy wrappers to discarded furniture. But the ultimate goal was much broader. Neighborhood leaders intend that this event will be the first of many to engage young residents to care for their community. Their objective is to re-establish an active resident-led youth leadership program that will reinvigorate Reid Park’s neighborhood connectivity and provide constructive engagement opportunities for youth to learn that their personal contributions can collectively make a difference.
Youth and an adult mentor planned how to clean the grounds of Reid Park Academy.
Lifelong Reid Park resident and President of the neighborhood association Rickey Hall told the youth about his experience participating in clean-ups as a young man. He stressed the importance of taking pride in caring for the physical environment so that all residents will have a great quality of life. Several adults explained to the youth that investing in the neighborhood through service when they were young provided the life skills they needed to stay out of trouble and achieve their goals.
We were inspired to see adult residents volunteering their time to provide mentorship so that today’s youth could experience the leadership training that was so transformative to the neighborhood decades ago.
Sustain Charlotte thanks Wells Fargo for their ongoing financial support of our sustainability work in Reid Park and other low- to moderate-income Charlotte neighborhoods through our Sustainable Neighborhoods Program.