Walnut Ridge: Trash Pickup and Kindness Rock Garden

People drop it and the wind carries it. It is transported into our bodies of water and all over our communities. It destroys our wildlife, our drinking water, and makes communities look unwelcoming and the world aesthetically unpleasing. “People start pollution, People can stop it.” While litter and littering have decreased, they continue to have a significant impact on our communities and environment. Not taking responsibility today, leads to an unsustainable future. Need to see it, to believe it? Take a look at your favorite childhood park that is now covered in trash. When you sit back and think about how you wish your community looked or how much nicer it would be to see flowers instead of fast food to-go bags these are the long-term goals you hope for.

But how do we get there and where do you start? There are going to be some obstacles along the way, but according to research, picking up trash and motivating others to do the same will eventually lead to those desired long-term goals. Making the first step today will positively impact your community tomorrow.

One of our 3 pilot high school Chapters, because I said I would Walnut Ridge, decided to do something about the trash for their first Unified Promise. Together our Teacher Advisor, Dawn Heidman, and her dedicated student Chapter Leaders, planned a school wide beautification project in honor of Earth Day.

Over 150 students participated by helping build a kindness rock garden in the front of the school, and hosting a trash clean up on schools grounds and the surrounding areas. Students hand painted kindness rocks and built a heart shaped garden to place them, that way anyone can grab one when they are having a bad day. Students then came together to pick up their own school grounds,

Over 50 full trash bags of litter were picked up during this project! Students were able to gain community service hours, while making a difference in their school and their community. Students felt a sense of pride in the difference they made by simply giving an hour or two of their time. They made a difference in their school community, because they said they would.

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