By Stephanie Feld, Be the Change
February 27, 2018
When I was just 10 years old, I sat some of my closest friends down in my bedroom and pitched my idea of forming the Freeport Junior Community Service Club in which we would spend every other weekend doing something good for our community. There were five or six of us that banded together in an attempt to spread some love and positivity.
That summer, and for many weekends to follow, we went to local nursing homes to spend time with residents — talking with them, singing for them, reading to them or sometimes just sitting there beside them. We gave mini-presentations at the library, volunteered at a day center for individuals with disabilities, and picked up litter around our neighborhoods when the weather was nice. Picking litter quickly became my favorite activity and was a simple way to make a big impact.
Though the club fizzled out in the late 1990s (along with a few terrible hairstyles), my passion to serve my community burns brighter than ever before. Now, 20 years of life experience later, while understanding the importance of community stewardship and volunteerism, my unwavering need to spread love and positivity is being fulfilled through Be The Change — a grassroots initiative to beautify the community while breaking down barriers and building bridges toward a brighter future.
Since March 2015, we have been raising awareness of our environmental impact by providing educational tools for area youth as well as resources to lessen our footprint. We are committed to creating a network of dedicated, forward thinking change-makers as we continue to collaborate and build relationships with residents, businesses and organizations alike.
Each year, we host a variety of community cleanups that have had hundreds of participants who successfully cleared hundreds of bags of litter and illegally dumped waste from Freeport! This initiative started as just one small, organized cleanup hosted by a caring citizen but has grown into something truly beautiful for this place we call home.
April 28 will be our fourth annual Superhero Cleanup and we are on track to cleaning up our entire city this year. This special day is dedicated to tidying up Freeport so that we can get a fresh start come springtime. Everyone deserves a clean and healthy environment in which to live, work, learn and play, and tons of local businesses, organizations and residents have been pledging to make sure that happens.
Volunteering, giving back and caring for one another are things we all can do. This world seriously needs so much more of that! Picking up litter will do much more than just make us look better. We will start to feel better about ourselves, too. A cleaner environment can create a solid foundation for Freeport to flourish and could lead to higher property values, less crime, more businesses looking to move here and an increase in pride for this place we all call home. Let’s Be The Change — together.