“I wanted to step out of the bounds,” said Daniel Tanner, a junior risk management and insurance major. “I hope to actually do productive things for the community every week.”
That’s why Tanner established Community Clean Up, an organization with the goal of cleaning up neighborhoods throughout North Philadelphia through community service activities. Students pick up trash, repaint rundown areas and work to create after-school and mentor programs for the neighborhood youth.
The group is currently focusing on developing after-school programs at two recreation centers in North Philadelphia – one located at 12th and Cambria streets and the other at Eighth and Diamond streets.
“These kids want [an after school program].” Tanner said. “Let’s do this.”
Tanner said he believes this is something that should have already been put into action.
The growing organization, now consisting of approximately 15 active members, will soon be recognized by Temple as an official organization, Tanner said. He drew inspiration to create CCU through the service projects of two student groups of which Tanner is a member – Students for Environmental Action and the Student Peace Alliance.
CCU is composed of students from Temple, but closely works with parents and other community organizations like Community Future Outreach, which works to provide positive reinforcement through sponsored activities for the students as well as organizing sports teams.
On Saturday, April 12, CCU and members of Community Future Outreach spent their afternoon at the recreation center on 12th and Cambridge streets, picking up trash and painting the outside of the building.
CCU and Community Future Outreach members said they stress the importance of maintaining a clean and safe place for students in the community to go.
“People have respect for the community if it’s clean,” said CCU member Sean Leahy, sophomore environmental studies major.
“It’s sad when you see what the kids in the neighborhood have,” said Jordan Weaver, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “It’s not much.”
“It’s a better alternative than the streets,” said Thomas Brown, a member of Community Future Outreach. “And first and foremost, we preach education.”
A majority of the community members grew up in the neighborhood and are now raising their own children there. Neighborhood residents pride themselves on being a close-knit community and are consistently working to maintain a safe environment.
“We all grew up here,” Brown said. “It’s our way of giving back. It’s not the best neighborhood, but we do what we can.”
The community members have continuously expressed their gratitude for CCU and Temple for the effort the organizations have made and the time they have given, striving to create a safe environment for the young children in the area.
“The main goal is to empower community members to assume responsibility for their neighborhoods,” Tanner said. “We hope to be able to implement this through CCU.”
Kathryn A. López can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.