Community to clean area around southeast Houston schools for MLK Day of Service

In honor of the MLK Day of Service, volunteers will pick up debris near two SE Houston schools so students can feel safer
January 19, 2014 8:40:02 PM PST
A cleanup project on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day will help create safer routes to schools for students of Sterling High School and Thomas Middle School in southeast Houston.

A walk near these schools quickly reveals a neighborhood nuisance -- trash, empty bottles, tires and broken glass littering the learning environment for students

"It really doesn't motivate us to do better or want better for ourselves because we've got so much trash around our school," Sterling High School student Kianna Eaglin said.

On Monday, Eaglin will be one in an army of volunteers trying to change that with a Collaborating for Safe Places cleanup project.

"People have a tendency to dump where they see trash, so if we cleanup the litter and debris, we can kind of start that process," said with the city of Houston.

"We're looking at student safety, removing sharp objects. We're also looking at beautification and environmental design, improving the look of the community and making it feel safer," Rick Gamble with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services said.

These volunteers chose Monday for the cleanup because it's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed around the country with a day of service.

"It shows you care about where you live and the people in your community," Eaglin said.

Teams of volunteers will pick up litter and remove debris from various illegal dump sites to clear routes so students can safely walk to and from school.

"Dr. King advocated a call to serve. That's what he did. That's what he gave his life for," Gamble said. "This is only fitting for us to give back a portion of what we've been living with and that rich heritage that he left for us."

The project is expected to last from 11am to 3:30pm Monday. Organizers are expecting between 20 and 30 students and other volunteers, but they would be happy to have more.

"If you live in the area, if you don't, please come and join us in this cleanup effort," Gamble said.

Volunteers will meet at 10:30am at Sterling High School, 11625 Martindale Road.

AmeriCorps Alums and HDHHS are organizing the project to promote King's message of service. Other project contributors include Keep Houston Beautiful, the City of Houston's police and public works and engineering departments, Houston Project Grad, Houston Independent School District, Panera Bread and Shipley Doughnuts.

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