Some of my earliest childhood memories include hanging out with my older brother at the park. He would chat with his friends while I played with the other kids. There were times that I stumbled across a used needle, cigarette buds, and shattered glass. My mother had always advised me never to touch such things; however, the other kids didn’t hesitate to examine them.
Being able to help with the Green Team playground cleanup for a fourth year has been and will always be a humbling experience. Upon arrival, I was greeted by fellow community members and instantly got to work. We used bags and gloves to remove the waste from the playground. Picking up someone else’s trash really opens your mind and allows you to grasp the reality that children are expected to play there.
Taking some time out of my Saturday morning was both beneficial to me, and those that live within that community, as I got a chance to give back and the kids will now have a safer place to play this school year. I noticed that people were watching us, and seemed so surprised to see us cleaning their neighborhood; some even stopped to say thank you. Although I’m not able to go back in time and remove the harmful waste from my childhood playground, being able to help remove it from another playground is just as rewarding.
Written by: Keona Greene