clear What Does It Take To Keep a Community Cleanup Going?

A cleanup can be a one-time event. The activity can also continue by moving the cleanup from one location to another -- for example, from the school playing field to a neighborhood park. Or, a specific site can be "adopted" and kept clean.

Sharing the work -- letting people do different jobs that appeal to them -- makes each new cleanup a fresh opportunity for volunteers. Special themes or "bring-a-friend" days can help liven up the work.

Make sure your community cleanup goals are realistic. It's a good idea to start with a project that can be accomplished in one afternoon and work up to larger projects. By cleaning up a park in a day, you will generate positive momentum for the next project.

Whether your cleanup project is a one-time event or a year-long commitment, don't forget to celebrate the results. Before-and-after photos and videotapes, coverage by local news media, and thank-you letters from area residents can help. Refreshments throughout the cleanup and a meal (sandwiches, a pizza party, or a cookout) at the end can make volunteers look forward to working together again. T-shirts or hats that identify your group can help build a sense of teamwork.

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Youth In Action Bulletin July 1999   black   Number 09