State Rep. Solomon and 40 WeLoveU Volunteers Surprise Neighbors with Act of Kindness

State Rep. Solomon and 40 WeLoveU Volunteers Surprise Neighbors with Act of Kindness

A Ray of Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

More than 50 homeowners in Philadelphia woke up to a pleasant surprise Sunday morning, seeing the leaves on their front yard raked, and litter on the sidewalk picked up. On December 1, 2019, State Representative Jared Solomon and 40 volunteers of the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation set out to help their neighbors through this simple act of kindness. 

For many, this was a sigh of relief as not all residents could clean their properties because of unforeseen circumstances or restrictions. Ms. Ali, a resident in the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood, expressed, “I want to thank the International WeLoveU Foundation for helping me clean up my house. Hopefully, next time I will be able to help. I used to do it, but I can’t do it again because of my knees.”

In preparation for this cleanup, State Representative Solomon compiled a list of homes for WeLoveU volunteers to visit. The forty volunteers split into several groups and assisted with raking leaves and picking up litter. By the time they cleaned all the homes on the list, they filled 30 bags with trash and leaves collectively.

“The WeLoveU Foundation is instrumental in everything I do in my community,” said State Representative Jared Solomon. “This kind of work has staying power. This is the type of community involvement that begins to change the tide, that begins to change the direction of a neighborhood.”

State Rep. Jared Solomon cleaning with WeLoveU Foundation volunteers.

WeLoveU’s History in the City of Brotherly Love 

The Intl. WeLoveU Foundation volunteers have been serving their neighbors in Northeast Philadelphia since early 2017. From street cleanups to restoring Tarken Park, the volunteers have been putting together and carrying out activities that meets the needs of their community. And now neighbors in the community are looking forward to WeLoveU’s next project in town to participate.

(click to view each post)  left: Summerdale Avenue Cleanup right: McVeigh Recreation Center Project

Through this cleanup effort, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers along with State Representative Solomon hope to bring happiness and encouragement. Most importantly, WeLoveU hopes to leave a lasting impression on the ones they serve and return to Northeast Philadelphia again.

More Than 100 WeLoveU Foundation Volunteers Clean Two Lakes in Orlando

More Than 100 WeLoveU Foundation Volunteers Clean Two Lakes in Orlando

The City Beautiful Receives WeLoveU Foundation Volunteers Double Lake Cleanup

On Sunday, November 24, 2019, more than 100 volunteers from the International WeLoveU Foundation gathered in Orlando, Florida for a two-in-one lake cleanup. Orlando, dubbed The City Beautiful, is home to Lake Dot and Park Lake. It’s located in the heart of Downtown Orlando and are just two out of 100 lakes within the city’s limits. 

In this instance, the two lakes benefit from the cleanup because it’ll help reduce air pollution, improve water quality and enhance ecosystem resilience. And because both lakes are in densely populated areas, constant upkeep is essential for the health and vitality of the bodies of water. When asked about the lakes a volunteer said, “Anyone driving downtown sees these lakes, and it really feels amazing to make them look beautiful again.”

A Team Effort & The Cleanup’s Importance

Ambitious and ready to clean, additional volunteers traveled from Miami and Jacksonville to participate. The large group split into two teams to clean the lake’s simultaneously. 

Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers worked together by removing dead and decaying plant life, raking leaves, and picking up trash like aluminum cans, plastic bags and bottles and cardboard boxes. By doing this type of volunteer service, it prevents leaves and other pollutants from entering the lakes that cause algae to grow, which cuts the water’s oxygen and harms the lake’s inhabitants.  

Within a short time, WeLoveU volunteers filled 145 bags of trash, weighing over 4, 200 pounds. Keep Orlando Beautiful, who partnered with the International WeLoveU Foundation on this project, supplied the group with the items to carry this cleanup out.

Volunteers say the example of the Foundation’s Chairwoman contributed to the success of the cleanup. “We wouldn’t be here if the Chairwoman didn’t come out first to show us how to give back to the community,” said Jessica Conn.

Cleaning Lake Dot and Park Lake is part of the WeLoveU Foundation’s Clean WORLD Movement—a worldwide effort to raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change. For more on WeLoveU activities, visit our activities page.

MA State Rep Liz Miranda Joins WeLoveU Ceylon Park Cleanup in Boston

MA State Rep Liz Miranda Joins WeLoveU Ceylon Park Cleanup in Boston

Tending to Ceylon Park Near Three Public Schools

On Sunday, September 15, 2019, 90 volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation came together to clean Ceylon Park in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Dorchester is one of the biggest and most diverse neighborhood in Boston and Ceylon Park itself is about four acres big. In addition to volunteers from the local Boston area, others joined from New Hampshire and Maine. The New England region often holds big cleanups together including the Blackstone and Franklin Square Earth Day Cleanup and Barrett Park Cleanup.

Considering Ceylon Park is nestled between three public schools, maintaining the park is pivotal for a healthy and safe environment. The Foundation organized the activity and partnered with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department as a part of WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement.

Working Together with State Rep Liz Miranda

A great number of hands was needed for this project. Overtime, litter piled up throughout the park; leaving it only to invite more trash. Starting at 10 a.m., volunteers were raking leaves, picking up dead branches and litter, pulling up weeds, and spreading fresh mulch on the playground.

State Representative Liz Miranda also joined in WeLoveU’s cleanup efforts. She’s seen raking and picking up trash alongside the volunteers. Regarding her experience, she said, “The world really needs more love, peace and unity. Thank you for inspiring hundreds and thousands of people across the world to remind us that we need, even in dark times like we are today, that we could still transcend that with love. Thank you for that.”

The Results and Words From Boston’s Park & Recreation Dept.

By noon, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers filled about 75 bags of trash! Altogether, it averages to be more than 350 pounds of trash.

Rick Thompson from the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, whose worked with WeLoveU several times in the past said, “I want to give her [WeLoveU Chairwoman, Zahng Gil-jah] a shout out. People like her make people like us well motivated to do more. This is what the world needs now: more unity and more peace amongst everybody. So, [I] thank her very much for that and thank you all too!”

>> Watch Boston Fox 25 News coverage about WeLoveU’s Ceylon Park cleanup

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Comfort Tyler Park with a Twist

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Comfort Tyler Park with a Twist

The WeLoveU Foundation volunteers in Syracuse, NY planned their monthly park cleanup with a fun addition: a school supply drive.

Each month a handful between 20-30 volunteers clean Comfort Tyler Park in partnership with the City of Syracuse’s Adopt-a-Block program. And to engage the community to give a helping hand in their own backyard, WeLoveU volunteers have different themes. For Mother and Father’s Day cleanups, volunteers prepped stations for guests to enjoy after cleaning like letter-writing stations, face painting, and playing recreational games.

However, with the new school semester around the corner, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers thought to host a school supply drive a week before the cleanup and conclude at their monthly park cleanup on Sunday, September 8, 2019.

WeLoveU volunteers clearing sidewalks in February and picking up trash in April.

The Need for School Supplies

Teachers around the globe and the United States face challenges of purchasing supplies for their own classrooms. Keeping that in mind, the WeLoveU volunteers reached out to two schools—Edward Smith K-8 and the Syracuse Latin School—and both gladly accepted the gesture of a school supply drive. 

Syracuse’s City Hall and the public library helped by permitting WeLoveU volunteers to leave drop-off donation boxes on site.

Cleaning and Helping Our Local Schools 

On the day of the cleanup, around volunteers met at Comfort Tyler Park. In a short amount of time, they filled 11 bags of trash with litter, weeds, and leaves they raked. While cleaning, neighborhood children and their families dropped off new school supplies. In total, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers and the community’s support garnered school supplies enough to fill four big boxes.

Read a recap of WeLoveU volunteers cleanup efforts at Comfort Tyler Park

Personal Delivery to Syracuse Schools

The next day, September 9, 2019, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers personally delivered the new school supplies to Edward Smith K-8 and the Syracuse Latin School. Principal Kelly Manard from the Syracuse Latin School said, “Things run out at the elementary school, crayons get broken, pencils get broken, notebook paper gets used. So to have all those little extras to be able to replenish through the year is really helpful to the school.”

Through the efforts of the WeLoveU Foundation, big and small, the Comfort Tyler Park cleanup and school supply drive align with SDG #4 and #13—Quality Education and Life on Land. The volunteers in Syracuse hope to continue spreading positivity and help wherever help is needed.

Watch CNY Central’s news coverage of the cleanup and school supply drive!

50 WeLoveU Volunteers Maintain Over 200 Trees in Charlotte

50 WeLoveU Volunteers Maintain Over 200 Trees in Charlotte

Time for a Tree Check-Up

On Sunday, August 25, 2019, more than 50 WeLoveU volunteers showed that maintaining trees is as important as planting them. In a few hours, they checked 206 trees off Chilton Place in Myers Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. Planting trees is helpful to the environment and is certainly a practice that should continue. However, what is as important as planting them is ensuring they grow well and are tended to. The WeLoveU volunteers worked hand-in-hand with the Mecklenburg Storm Water Services Lane Use and Environmental Services Agency.

The Scoop on Planting Trees

Planting trees holds many benefits. Due to constant rainfall and frequent flooding, areas may be affected by erosion. To prevent this from happening, planting trees in those areas helps stabilize the creeks banks and creates a natural buffer to soak up storm water runoff instead of flooding. All of these factors then stop erosion from affecting the environment. In addition, trees improve air quality and provides shade to the waterways like a creek, which then provides a better environment for fish and insects inhabiting those spaces.

Tree Maintenance for Growing Trees

All fifty volunteers made their way to the location by 10 a.m. They saw the tree seedlings covered with tubes, which protects them from deer and provides moisture—an important component in the early stages of growth. Volunteers also noticed signs of choking from the weeds and branches wrapping around the tree seedlings.

For about two hours, volunteers pulled up weeds, cut off branches, and picked up trash around the area. On top of that, they provided extra support for trees to grow straight if they showed signs of bending.

The environmental agency was glad to welcome a large group of volunteers as there’s sometimes not enough hands. Tree maintenance after the initial planting of them is necessary as the volunteers experienced. A local news station stopped by the park and aired a broadcast about the volunteers’ efforts.

>> Watch local news broadcast of WeLoveU’s tree maintenance project

WeLoveU Volunteers in New Jersey Clean Up the Newark Bay Shoreline

WeLoveU Volunteers in New Jersey Clean Up the Newark Bay Shoreline

A Summer Cleanup in the Garden State

On Sunday, August 18, 2019, around 40 volunteers from the International WeLoveU Foundation met in Bayonne, New Jersey’s Newark Bay Shoreline for a cleanup. The WeLoveU Foundation carried this activity out in partnership with the City of Bayonne’s Department of Public Works.

The WeLoveU volunteers were certainly no strangers to the Newark Bay Shoreline. In 2017, they carried out a cleanup there in the springtime as well. The cumulative efforts of all participants is working to fulfill WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement’s vision to help our planet. In addition, the Newark Bay Shoreline cleanup is a step closer to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals, which is good for us and our planet. In particular, this cleanup targets SDG #14-Life Below Water.

>> Read about WeLoveU’s initial cleanup in 2017

Aiming to make a difference in their community, the group of 40 volunteers signed up to the task of cleaning the half-mile trail. The goal of the cleanup: enhance the ecosystem by removing litter and make the Newark Bay Shoreline aesthetically pleasing to visitors.

The Newark Bay Shoreline is a place many find to be peaceful and they spend their leisure time strolling by the water. Nonetheless, over the last few years, it has become susceptible to debris and litter swept on shore from the ocean. Enormous amounts of litter cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. And with ships entering and leaving the Newark Seaport, pollution is rampant.

Despite the summer heat and humidity, the volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Within a short time, the group filled more than 30 trash bags and collected tires, rotten wood planks, and dead branches.

The volunteers hope this cleanup and others similar to it like the Hammonasset Beach State Park in Connecticut can inspire others to participate in WeLoveU’s initiatives to enhance the environment.

WeLoveU Volunteers Revitalize Lancaster Street in Leominster, MA

WeLoveU Volunteers Revitalize Lancaster Street in Leominster, MA

Mayor Dean Mazzarella [center] supporting WeLoveU Foundation volunteers in Leominster.

Volunteers Return to Leominster for Lancaster Street Project

A heat wave sweeping across Massachusetts this past weekend couldn’t stop 70 WeLoveU volunteers from taking on a street cleanup in Leominster. On Sunday, July 21, 2019, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers worked together to restore an abandoned trail site near McLaughlin Babe Ruth Field. The trail site, commonly known as Lancaster Street, has been vacant for twenty years. This volunteer service activity is in partnership with the Leominster Recreation Department and the Leominster Trail Stewards.

The WeLoveU Foundation displays panels about the Sustainable Development Goals and how the organization’s activities work to help fulfill them.

Due to reports of illegal trash dumping, cleaning Lancaster Street became a high priority on the city’s to-do list. Trash dumping poses many threats to the environment. For starters, piles of trash left on a property can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And if trash flows into rivers as a result of storm water runoff, it can impact the fish and other wildlife. The environment isn’t the only thing affected by trash dumping; it also impacts people. Litter is unsightly, but it can also welcome unwarranted activity in neighborhoods.

Strength in Numbers Leads to Great Results

With the goal in mind to restore Lancaster Street, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers removed litter and dead branches that covered the half-mile road. Halfway through the cleanup, temperatures reached the high nineties. Despite that, exchanges between volunteers like “We can do it!” and “You’re almost there!” resonated throughout Lancaster Street. Together, they moved broken branches to a chipper truck provided by the city. In total, volunteers filled ten bags of trash, including larger items like a broken air conditioner.

According to the Leominster Trail Stewards, volunteers are needed to fulfill Leominster’s match for a grant they received from Massachusetts’s Mass Trail Program. In less than three hours, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers fulfilled one-third of those required volunteer hours! Judith Sumner from the Leominster Recreation Department said, “They [Leominster Trail Stewards] are amazed at the amount of work you did!”

Mayor Dean Mazzarella Supports WeLoveU Foundation Volunteers

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella stopped by to express his support and thankfulness to the volunteers.  He’s participated in previous WeLoveU cleanups in Leominster since 2017 in Barrett Park, Fournier Park, a street cleanup. and was a guest speaker at the 2018 New Life Family Walkathon in Washington D.C.

“I’ve dealt with a whole lot of groups, and I say this all the time. This group is the friendliest group, and I’d think everybody knew each other their entire life. We’ve done a number of cleanup projects, beautification projects in the city. This is the only event that didn’t get canceled this weekend. They’re doing a beautiful job taking this old roadway that was abandoned and cleaning it up.”

The volunteers’ efforts cleaning Lancaster Street is just one of the ways the WeLoveU Foundation carries out its Clean WORLD Movement. The global campaign raises awareness about the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change. To see more environmental cleanup efforts from the WeLoveU Foundation, visit the Clean WORLD Movement initiative page.

WeLoveU Foundation Volunteers Join Clean Beaches Week in Connecticut

WeLoveU Foundation Volunteers Join Clean Beaches Week in Connecticut

Volunteers Celebrating Clean Beaches Week in Connecticut

Clean Beaches Week (July 1-7) is dedicated to celebrating our beaches by ensuring they remain clean and safe for the generations to come. Around 130 WeLoveU Foundation volunteers from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts came together to organize a cleanup at Hammonasset Beach State Park on Sunday, July 7, 2019. This volunteer service is in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Hammonasset Beach State Park is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park spanning over two-miles of beach. With Independence Day just three days’ prior, the volunteers anticipated a lot of trash. That’s because visiting beaches is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the 4th of July. In total, the WeLoveU volunteers collected 50 bags worth of trash!

I want to say thank you to each and every one of you for taking the time to come out here. It’s very rare that we have a group this size, so we are very happy to have you. We are very thrilled that you picked our location to provide a hand.

Bill Mattioli

Hammonasset State Park Supervisor

Hammonasset State Beach Park

In addition to the cleanup, attention-grabbing educational panels were on display. It described different activities the WeLoveU Foundation carries out that align with the Sustainable Development Goals. On top of that, many came to understand the harmful effects litter has on our planet and ways to counter it in their daily lives.

Overall, it was a great way for the community to ask questions and be acquainted with the WeLoveU Foundation. Not to mention, a good opportunity to learn about the Global Goals set in place to transform our planet for good by 2030. 

Through the help of many WeLoveU volunteers, Hammonasset Beach was cleaned and ready to receive the next batch of visitors. Also, for many on the beach, it was their first time learning about the works of the WeLoveU Foundation and its different initiatives including the Clean WORLD Movement, which this cleanup effort falls under. 

Planting 30,000 Marsh Grass Plants in Sunset Cove Park

Planting 30,000 Marsh Grass Plants in Sunset Cove Park

Marsh Grass Planting in Queen’s Wetland—Sunset Cove Park

Sunset Cove Park in Jamaica Bay, Queens is undergoing a transformation one marsh plug at a time. The urban wetlands received extra attention this weekend when 140 WeLoveU Foundation volunteers planted 30,000 plugs of marsh grass in partnership with the American Littoral Society on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

Planting marsh grass benefits the environment in many ways. It improves the water quality by absorbing pollutants, storm water retention, and adds nutrients to the Bay Area. This part of NYC remained untouched for two decades. However, after Superstorm Sandy slammed the tristate area in 2012, plans to restore Jamaica Bay began. The wetlands restoration project started in 2014 and was completed in June 2019.

Visit by New York State Senator

Before volunteers could start planting marsh plugs, they received a special visit from Senator Joe Addabbo. The Senator’s district includes Sunset Cove Park that’s part of Broad Channel, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens. It is the only inhabited island in Jamaica Bay. Senator Addabbo’s encouraging message was a great way to kick-start the marsh planting activity

“Jamaica Bay is a jewel to me. Thank you so much for taking care of it. Not many people would be here on a Sunday morning. You could have been anywhere else.”

Senator Joe Addabbo

After the Senator’s visit, Don Ripe from the American Littoral Society explained a few pointers the volunteers should keep in mind. For many, if not all, it was their first time participating in this kind of activity. Corporate volunteers from SMBC and IBM also joined the WeLoveU Foundation.

This is my first time volunteering with this group. I’m enjoying my time here. To the Chairwoman, I would like to say thank you. There is no better satisfaction than helping the community and taking action.

Pepe, IBM Corporate Volunteer

On Your Marks, Get Set, Plant!

Despite the hot weather, volunteers carried the cartridges of marsh from one distance to another. One by one, teams began digging holes deep enough to bury the roots. It involved a lot of ‘elbow grease’ as it’s said, on behalf of the volunteers. 

Great Results Brought Forth From Unity

In just three hours, the group of 140 volunteers finished planting 30,000 marsh plugs of grass! Great things can be accomplished when everyone works together having the same goal in mind. Marsh grass planting in Sunset Cove Park is just one example of how the WeLoveU Foundation works to fulfill the Clean WORLD MovementAt the same time, the volunteers’ terrific efforts align to fulfill Global Goals #14 and #15—Life Below Water and Life on Land. 

WeLoveU Volunteers Tree Planting Completes Reforestation Project

WeLoveU Volunteers Tree Planting Completes Reforestation Project

Rollin’ Up Our Sleeves For Tree Planting

Mercer County Park Commission received well over 80 volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation on Sunday, June 23, 2019. The special occasion? Tree planting! The WeLoveU Foundation volunteers helped complete the Stony Brook reforestation project by planting the remaining 300 trees.

Stony Brook is located in Rosedale Park in Pennington, NJ. Due to heavy rainfall in spring and summer, Stony Brook experiences flooding that causes damage to the surrounding areas. Within in the reforestation plan, the Mercer County Park Commission aimed to plant 2,500 trees. The WeLoveU Foundation volunteers are glad to participate and help them meet their goal. 

The work that we do here at the Mercer County Parks cannot be done without the help of volunteers. I really thank the WeLoveU Foundation for coming out today and help in completing this project.

Alex Rivera, Land Steward of the Merer County Park Commission

Benefits Behind Tree Planting

Taking an in-depth look behind planting trees reveals great benefits for the environment. For starters, they will help soak up rainwater, which reduces flooding, erosion and pollution in our waterways. The newly planted trees contribute for our well-being by giving off oxygen that we need to breathe. Additionally, they provide animals like birds, for instance, food, protection, and a place to call home. 

First things first, the large group of volunteers spread out across the park. They began digging into the soil with shovels in order to have enough space to plant the trees. Through their efforts, volunteers helped bring new life to the floodplains and refreshed the ecosystems! This volunteer service activity is part of WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement. 

After the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers finished planting 300 trees, they stayed a bit longer at the park for a BBQ! Wrapping up a great day with friends and family in the name of environmental protection.

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