Citizens unite to beautify the community
April 13, 2011
Filed under Features
There were many people of all ages dressed in orange shirts cleaning the community and making a difference around town on April 9.
“The Great American Cleanup is always a great way to get involved and encourage the kids to do a little community service,” said Lisa Contreras, a volunteer along with her three children.
This year the Great American Cleanup was held at Yokuts Park from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event was hosted by the mayor of Bakersfield, Harvey Hall, along with Jessica Felix who is the organizer of Keeping Bakersfield Beautiful.
This event is yearly and everyone is welcome to participate. Although this event is eight hours, it is only mandatory to do at least two.
“After your group or team was done cleaning, everyone had to meet up at the park for all the other things that were scheduled,” said Michael Gary, volunteer.
Aside from everyone forming groups and going around Bakersfield to clean, much more was going on at Yokuts Park.
To the left of the park, they had bounce houses, games, and competitions for the children.
Timothy Collins, 6, whose group went around cleaning graffiti, said, “I won all the times on sack racing. This is very fun and in the morning I had to paint the bad stuff off the walls with my dad.”
Near the center of the park, they had Starbucks giving away coffee or hot chocolate to all the volunteers and people who came out.
There was also a food area for everyone to grab a burger or a hot dog.
“I love participating in this event. Makes me very happy to see all the people that come and help out our Bakersfield,” said Alfredo Cruz, who was helping cook the food.
The stage was also at the center of the park where all the organizers and volunteers got together after lunch and spoke about the importance of keeping Bakersfield clean and Earth Day.
To the right of the park, there was an informational booth and a white tent where so much was going on with students and families.
There were job offerings, available scholarships, entertainment, free stuff and art.
Many high schools participated in the cleanup and had much of their art entered in the contests.
Some schools that participated at the event were Bakersfield High, West High, Golden Valley High, Independence High and Frontier High.
“Students from high schools around the city were asked to put together a sculpture representing some way to help the earth or some things that can destroy it,” said Brian Rodriguez, a teacher at West High School.
There were many different sculptures created by individuals and teams from the high schools.
The students used paper plates, bottle caps, newspaper, license plates, plastic bottles and cardboard paper to put their work together.
“These teens are so talented and creative,” said Kathleen Acosta, who attended the cleanup. “Just walking around and looking at the globes, little cities, fishes, robots, horses and everything they made makes me so proud.”
There were also many booths set up inside the tent to talk about things to do to improve the earth. They were also talking about jobs, had games and were giving away trees and plants for children and families who wanted them.
“I had a lot of fun. I learned to never litter and if I see someone I know litter, I will make them pick up it up and throw it away because it adds up,” said Jasmin Banuelos, a coordinator of Career Beginnings at Cal State Bakersfield.
“It’s also a great experience for the kids in our program and they get credit for being out here and enjoying all this stuff going on.”
Organizer Jessica Felix said, “I would like to thank everyone who came out. There was much more participation this year. I am very happy with the event and I love how everyone is helping and enjoying their selves and doing their part to keep Bakersfield beautiful.”