‘Have pride in your community’: Clean-up effort pushes kids to care

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A community cleaning collaboration hit Harrisburg Saturday: Students and parents slapped on gloves and got to work.

Have you ever seen kids lining up to help clean? That was the scene inside Downey Elementary School Saturday morning, as volunteers passed out garbage bags and latex gloves.

“It’s good they have stuff like this,” Sammee Dee Childs said, hitting the streets. He had a simple mission for himself and his 5-year-old daughter, Sammarie.

“Looking for any trash that we can find,” he said. “You know, it gets real dirty around this neighborhood.”

That neighborhood surrounds Downey, near Cameron and Herr streets. Sammee hoped Sammarie walked away from the clean-up wanting to do more.

“And actually to care about the world, you know what I mean,” he added. “To help clean it up.”

Sign-in sheets showed 37 kids, 29 parents, and seven teachers pulling together to pull a little light into their neighborhood.

“The goal is to model that for the kids,” second-grade teacher Alicia Cramer said.

Even fallen foliage was no match for the army of cleaners; Jamiyah Brooks, 6, was there with her grandma, attacking leaves that had gathered against the curbs.

It might have been Saturday, but she was learning.

“To have pride in your community,” her grandma, Sherry Wright, said. “That’s the thing. Have pride in your community and yourself.”

“I think it’s something real good for these kids,” Sammee said.

After less than two hours, more than 40 full bags sat on the sidewalk outside the school. At least a couple of them came from Sammarie and her dad.

“It’s kind of bad around here, you know,” Sammee said. “But it’s getting better.”

The Parent Lighthouse Team at Downey — kind of like a PTO — organized the clean-up. They plan to do it again in the future.

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