Sunday, October 24, 1999

Kids answer call to make a difference

Crews clean, build, beautify

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The gusty winds almost swept away the trash as fast as the kids could pick it up Saturday afternoon around Findlay Market.

        Twenty-eight youngsters ranging in age from 8 to 15 spent Make A Difference Day picking up trash in Over-the-Rhine.

        They joined 2 million volunteers nationwide who participated in the ninth annual volunteer day effort, sponsored by USA Weekend.

        After three hours in the cold breeze, the youngsters from the Turn Around America club in Over-the-Rhine had collected 53 bags of litter. They picked up garbage from vacant lots and around the market area to help keep their community clean.

        “When we started, there was a lot of trash,” said Donald Spikes, 11. “I learned that it's important to keep your neighborhood clean.”

        The hardest part for the kids wasn't the work — it was staying warm. Many wore heavy parkas, pulled their sweat shirt sleeves over their hands and moved around to keep warm.

        “It's freezing,” said Patrick Brown, 11. “But (volunteering) was fun and made me feel good because we did something to help the community.”

        And what a difference a day makes, said program volunteer Rebecca McLean of Fort Thomas.

        “The kids were all smiles after they saw the pile of trash grow from the morning,” she said. “It really made them feel accomplished.”

        This the first year the Turn Around club, an after-school program that teaches business skills, participated in Make A Difference Day.

        Asked whether they would volunteer again, Mrs. McLean said: “Absolutely, we'll do it again next year.”

        The kids from the club also collected trash on Thursday and Friday, bringing their total to 108 garbage bags. They plan to make the area cleanups a weekly venture.

        “It showed them that one person could make a difference,” Mrs. McLean said. “Especially if they pull together.”

        Make A Difference Day efforts in the Tristate included:

        • Keep Cincinnati Beautiful volunteers and members planted 40,000 daffodils and day lily bulbs along Interstates 75, 71 and 74.

        • American Airlines reservation center employees helped build a house in Dayton, Ky., for the Northern Kentucky Habitat for Humanity.

        • Residents, teen groups, University of Cincinnati students and Cincinnati Park Board members worked to restore Glenway Park in East Price Hill.

        • The nonprofit organization Cincinnati Cares collected donated books at Barnes and Noble stores in Hyde Park, Kenwood and on Fields Ertel Road.


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