Today, I cleaned the alley behind my daughter's school.
Let me back up.
My daughter goes to a GREAT charter school in an up and coming neighborhood - you know, one with a lot of potential? Anyway, it is in the alley behind the school that we conduct drop off and pick up of our little ones, and it is not pretty. Graffiti, trash, a couch, someone's old fence, a dresser, a few abandoned cars, well I think you get my drift. This is an alley that the children not only see everyday, but several of the families walk through it to get to the school.
In addition, (and I almost wasn't going to bring this part up because I'm a little concerned about libel?) there is an auto/body shop, very close to the school, that could possibly be polluting the air with bondo dust and spray paint particulates. They also park the cars that they are working on and are about to work on in the alley and on the school property. It is extremely frustrating to see what is going on there and feel like there isn't anything permanent we can do about it.
Now, my good friend (and fellow parent of said school) Julia has spent the last year working as a committee of one cleaning the alley on a regular basis. This fall, when school started up again, it was as if she had never touched the place. She had worked so hard back there! So, I decided to take matters into my own hands - literally my own typing fingers. I emailed every city service I could think of, including several that had nothing to do with the problems. I even emailed our district's city councilwoman's office.
Yay for our City! First off, there is a Neighborhood Clean-Up Assistance Program that gives you supplies - shovels, rakes, brooms to borrow, and trash bags, gloves and masks to use FREE OF CHARGE! Thank you to Jim!
Second, our City sent out their wonderful Graffiti Prevention Services crew, and 4 trucks and painted the entire alley. I'm talking, a long "Y" shaped alley with every surface covered - they used blue, black, green, tan, pink, grey and white paint. Thank you to Javier!
Third, and YAY for our city councilwoman, a representative from her office came out in person to see all the problems in our alleyway. Since her visit, she has secured a meeting with some higher ups on the City's police department. Thank you to Claudia!
And lastly, this would not have happened if not for the volunteers. Julia, Rick, Tami and about 20 others that flew past me at the speed of light with their sweeping, shoveling, planting and trash throwing. Thank you to everyone for giving their time and effort to cleaning up and taking back such a small little piece of the City.