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School Landscaping, Clean-up, Painting

A school-wide community cleanup project is a good way to get the church, students, and the community involved in a good cause. This is a great opportunity to allow participants to build meaningful relationships with another, and the plus side of making a school greener, cleaner, and safer is not bad, either.

Steps

  • Scout area schools and determine a school that is in need of a cleanup/makeover event.
  • Contact the principal and present your idea. Discuss details such as the best time and date for the event.
  • Advertise the event in your church a month in advance and sign up your volunteers.
  • Distribute informational flyers to volunteers with instructions for recommended clothing (covered footwear, gloves, sun protection, etc.). If the schoolchildren will be participating, they should be briefed as well.
  • Contact various organizations for donations, sponsorships, and assistance:
    • Contact area tree care companies, landscaping companies and nurseries to enlist help/donation in pruning, removing dangerous trees and branches,  and plant trees or flowerbeds.
    • Contact your local Sanitation or Public Works Department to arrange trash pickup.
    • Contact restaurants and groceries stores to provide refreshments.
  • Gather supplies. Here are some items you may need:
    • Gardening/heavy duty gloves
    • Scoops
    • Shovels
    • Spades
    • Rakes
    • Trash bags
    • Trash pickers
    • Pruners/tree trimmers
    • Painting supplies
    • Tables & chairs for registration
    • First aid kit
    • Hand sanitizers/antiseptic hand wipes
    • Cleanup site plans
    • Depending on the method, http://www.las-cruces.org/pio/graffiti/remove.shtmsupplies to remove graffiti  
  • Organize your volunteers into the groups and assign site supervisors. Encourage the site supervisors to visit their sites prior to the event to familiarize themselves with the facilities, area to be cleaned, and potential safety concerns.
  • Designate areas to clean up, such as hallways, sidewalks, playground, in front of the school, etc. Assign teams to the specific areas.
  • Specific tasks might include picking up litter, sweeping the areas, washing off graffiti, raking leaves, painting the walls, etc.  
  • On the day of the event, set a table for registrations.
  • Brief the volunteers. Briefing should outline plans for the days, the role of site supervisors, the system for collecting trash and separating recyclables, and address any potential safety issues (syringes and sharp objects should only be removed by the site supervisor).
  • Distribute maps, trash bags and materials to volunteers, and direct them to their designated areas.
  • At the end of the event, make sure that the trash is secure, easily accessible for collection, and not blocking the roads.
  • Be sure to leave the school clean and tidy.

Tips

  • Have a first aid kit on site in case of accidents.
  • Volunteers who are working around bushes, shrubs, or trees should wear eye protection at all times.
  • This is a great project to involve the students; ask if the principal will be interested in offering early release for students to participate.
  • To make the event more educational, highlight other environmental issues and opportunities.
  • To make the event more enjoyable and fun, arrange a cookout event following clean up, award outstanding volunteers, and/or present certificates to all volunteers.

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