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Planting Trees to Develop Gainesville’s Community Garden

Planting Trees to Develop Gainesville’s Community Garden

Around thirty volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation in Central Florida partnered with Keep Alachua County Beautiful for a  tree planting project in Gainesville, Florida.

Planting trees reduce air pollution by filtering dust and pollutants from the air we breathe. Additionally, volunteers are planting trees to develop Greater Duval Neighborhood Association Community Garden. The garden was founded for local citizens to take advantage of the natural resources grown within.

WeLoveU volunteers traveled from numerous towns and cities in Florida. They traveled from Leesburg, Orlando, Winter Park, Kissimmee, and Daytona Beach to participate in the tree planting volunteer service at 10 a.m on August 19, 2018.

Despite their long journey, traveling two and a half hours, volunteers were excited. For many of them, it was their first time participating in a tree planting project. Before hitting the ground, all the volunteers gathered for an opening picture in their bright blue WeLoveU polo shirts.

Meeting the Experts

Shirley McNish, Treasurer of the Greater Duval Neighborhood Association and Coordinator of the Community Garden, also participated. She was working alongside volunteers providing careful instructions. She mentioned that she has been waiting three years to plant this community garden, but not many working hands have been available. She expressed her gladness and thankfulness to the WeLoveU volunteers for joining today to expand the garden.

Andrew Ingram, the Project Coordinator from Keep Alachua County Beautiful, also came and brought tools such as shovels and gloves for the volunteers to carry out the work. The trees were also donated with the help of several organizations in the city of Gainesville.

Planting Trees for Clean Air

After receiving gardening instructions from Shirley, an experienced gardener herself, the volunteers promptly began transporting each tree to its new home. In groups of three, they aligned beside each other and started digging. Mustering all of their strength, they struck the ground with shovels to create a resting place for each tree.

After the holes were deep and wide enough, they planted the trees, filling each trench with water followed by soil. Drops of sweat fell from their suntanned foreheads, but they did not stop until they accomplished their tasks. In only two hours, the volunteers planted 13 saplings; among the trees were apple, plum, pecan, fig, and crepe myrtle trees.

Lavarn, a WeLoveU volunteer from Winter Park, said, “This was a really amazing experience to come out here today in Gainesville to actually plant trees. Trees are very necessary for life because we need oxygen that comes from trees for us to live. So this opportunity was amazing for us because we can also beautify this area in Gainesville.”

Around 12:30 p.m., the volunteers wrapped up. Also, Keep Alachua County Beautiful prepared lunch for the group. Afterward, they came together for one last group picture with the coordinators.

Kind Words From the Coordinators

McNish expressed her happiness saying, “To all of the volunteers and WeLoveU, I encourage you all to just keep doing what you are doing. There are many people like the Greater Duval Community who need your help and they are waiting for it. You reached out to me, I did not know anything about you and I am in love with you all. Thank you, I appreciate you all.”

Ingram also shared words with the volunteers saying, “This community garden is a great thing; locals have been asking for it. The WeLoveU Foundation does great work, and this tree planting is just a little sample of what they do. The message they deliver through what they do cannot really get much better than that.  You cannot beat that!”

Responding to their kind words, volunteers chanted “We love you!” and headed back to their respective homes.

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Philadelphia’s McVeigh Recreation Center

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Philadelphia’s McVeigh Recreation Center

WeLoveU volunteers cleaned the McVeigh Recreation Center to make a pleasant and bright environment for their neighbors.

In the Suburbs of Philadelphia

The summer heat couldn’t stop 70 WeLoveU volunteers from traveling to the McVeigh Recreation Center for a cleanup on August 12, 2018. The center hosts after-school activities like arts and crafts, and outdoor activities. WeLoveU volunteers found it important to clean this space because it’s frequently used by children. The day’s agenda included collecting trash and removing graffiti around the building.

Graffiti’s Footprint on Society 

In Philadelphia, the spring and summer season report an influx in graffiti. In 1984, the city’s former mayor established an Anti-Graffiti Network to combat the spread of graffiti. It dampens the city’s reputation when it’s seen on businesses, parks, and schools. Environmentally speaking, graffiti is also toxic and emits fumes into the air, which promotes global warming.

By participating in this cleanup, WeLoveU is improving the center’s safety by removing graffiti and litter. This revitalization project serves to fulfill the organization’s Clean World Movement. It’s an environmental campaign aiming to provide a clean world not only for this generation but future generations.

Volunteers Working Together

Prepared and ready to go, volunteers brought with them shovels, trash bags, and supplies for removing graffiti. To tackle the big work ahead, volunteers split up into teams. One team removed the graffiti along the recreation center’s walls. Meanwhile, another team pulled up weeds and picked up the trash surrounding the playground and baseball field. Volunteers collected 35 bags of trash including metal, broken glass, and wrappers. 

The day isn’t complete without meeting the community members whom WeLoveU is directly impacting. Neighbors stepped out of their homes and spoke with some volunteers. They began thanking the volunteers after learning about WeLoveU and the motivation to clean the McVeigh Recreation Center. The volunteers certainly grabbed the attention of drivers with their signature blue shirts.

The WeLoveU Foundation will continue its efforts in Philadelphia to provide and maintain a clean and safe environment, inviting the community to participate in this global movement. Click here to read about other activities WeLoveU volunteers carried out in Philadelphia. 

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Key Biscayne’s 70-Year-old Beach Park

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Key Biscayne’s 70-Year-old Beach Park

A Historic Beach Welcomes WeLoveU

A barrier island across the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami is Key Biscayne. It is there where 35 volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation met on Sunday, July 15, 2018, for a cleanup.

While most people may have just begun their day, WeLoveU volunteers met early in the morning at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. Fully supporting WeLoveU’s efforts, the park provided the necessary materials needed for the cleanup. Their goal was to completely remove trash that’s around the park and floating along the shoreline. Volunteers quickly got to work without wasting any time.

Within two and a half hours, volunteers cleaned a three-mile stretch by the beach’s shoreline and in the park. They removed garbage such as cardboard boxes, cans, and bottles. During the cleanup, volunteers received words of appreciation from the community. They spent a good amount of time beautifying the park. By noon, they had collected more than 20 bags of trash. Many people walking by, enjoying their Sunday at the beach, took notice of the volunteer’s efforts. They gave their thanks and cheered them on.

“W” Is For Water

WeLoveU’s partnership with the Historic Virginia Key Beach works toward fulfilling the foundation’s Clean World Movement. It’s a worldwide initiative to provide a clean and safe environment for people across the globe in the face of climate change.

The word “World” is an acronym that stands for Water, Oxygen, Region, Life, and Descendants. Through this cleanup, volunteers focus on cleaning around the beach to improve water quality, enhance ecosystem resilience and ease droughts.

It’s important to encourage these type of activities as it’s all connected to the world’s climate. The Clean World Movement is in place to organize cleanups whether big or small because it impacts not only this generation but also future generations.

This beach cleanup, for instance, seems relatively small compared to the global issue of pollution, but it’s working towards helping the overall condition. Every cleanup counts when it comes to our environment and community.

Closing Remarks

After the event, volunteers began sharing with one another how they felt about the day’s activities. One volunteer mentioned, “I love to participate in events like these because it makes a difference in the environment. Many people don’t realize how much trash piles up until we stop and look at it. I want to inspire others to help not only their communities but the world so it can be restored to its original beauty.”

WeLoveU volunteers yearn to accomplish the foundation’s initiatives and deliver the message which the Chairwoman has set forth which is sharing a mother’s love with all people through volunteerism. To this end, WeLoveU volunteers in Miami aspire to continue helping neighbors and communities to make the world a better place.

Leominster Receives Double Dose of WeLoveU Volunteer Service

Leominster Receives Double Dose of WeLoveU Volunteer Service

Leominster: Round Two

Last week, volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation kicked-off July by beautifying Leominster’s Fournier Park. Now, they’re back, but this time to carry out a street cleanup near city hall. It was on Sunday, July 8, 2018, that about 25 volunteers gathered together for this community service.

Leominster City Hall supports the group’s effort by providing them with trash bags and gloves. The volunteers began cleaning on West Street and made their way east towards Central Street and Lancaster Street. Central Street and Lancaster Street are more residential areas versus West Street which is more commercialized.

Meeting the Neighbors

The volunteers branched out into both residential streets. While doing so, they had a chance to meet those who live along those roads. The participants received many thankful remarks from the local residents.

Their bright smiles and blue shirts caught the eyes of all who passed by. Car honks were heard throughout the cleanup along with residents encouraging and acknowledging the volunteer’s care and conscientious attitudes.

For one mile, and in the hot summer weather, volunteers picked up garbage, dead branches, and debris. In the end, a total of about 50 pounds of waste was gathered.

Feel Good Moments

“It feels good when you do something for the community and even to be of some help in the world. Even to work as a team felt good. I feel like through this cleanup we are able to encourage the community and show love to them, especially with what is happening in this world now,” a new volunteer of the organization said.

The cleanup started and concluded with cheering and laughter from the volunteers. The WeLoveU Foundation strives to share love through community service and create a safe and clean environment for all. The volunteers are looking forward to more community services, eager to serve their neighbors and raise awareness of the importance of having a Clean World.

Fournier Park Summer Cleanup

Fournier Park Summer Cleanup

On the first day of July and the hottest of the summer thus far, volunteers from the International WeLoveU Foundation came out to Fournier Park. The park located in Leominster, Massachusetts is a popular site in the summertime attracting children and parents for its splash pad and playgrounds.

About 45 volunteers met in Fournier Park with a target to beautify the park’s entrance. Leominster’s Recreational Director, Judith Sumner, guided volunteers providing them with tools, water, and snacks.

A Quick Touch-up

Numerous weeds and trash have taken over the entrance that it even blocked visitors sight of the parks’ sign.  The first order of business was to remove the weeds and spray herbicide to prevent them from growing back.

Volunteers then spread mulch and planted flowers to embellish the entrance. Mulch is spread over the surface of the soil to protect it. It also helps retain moisture in the soil, subdues weeds, keeps the soil cool, and makes spruces up the parks’ appearance. Fresh mulch was also laid outside the baseball field and around the playground. An average of 4,800 pounds of mulch was spread throughout the park.

Mayor Mazzarella Supports WeLoveU

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella also joined the volunteers.

“I’ve been [a] mayor for 25 years. If you were just around, my life would be a lot easier,” he stated, thanking the volunteers for their unyielding efforts.

Mayor Mazzarella is an avid supporter of the WeLoveU foundation and has joined volunteers in earlier community service activities. Just last week he invited volunteers to appear on his community TV show to speak more about the organization and its latest projects.

The one-hundred-degree weather could not stop or delay the volunteers from working. Residents in the neighborhood took notice and thanked them as well for their efforts. Many mentioned that the park was due for a cleanup and some care.

Results & Future Plans

By noon and three hours of work later, Fournier Park looked refreshed. The parks’ entrance, playground, and baseball field all appeared more welcoming and ready for use.

Volunteers filled 30 bags of trash. They concluded the community service with their signature, “We love you!” cheer, giving a farewell to the mayor and recreational director.

With a united mind to show the love of a mother to their communities and neighbors, volunteers are scheduled to return to Leominster for a street cleanup next week.

Tradewinds Park and Stables Receive a WeLoveU Makeover After Hurricane Irma

Tradewinds Park and Stables Receive a WeLoveU Makeover After Hurricane Irma

Restoring Battered Pavilions After Hurricane Irma

Florida suffered extensive damage when Hurricane Irma rocked the state back on September 10, 2017. Nine months after the storm, Florida’s landscape improved all the more after rebuilding efforts ensued.

One park in particular—Tradewinds Park and Stables—in Coconut Creek, Florida still needed some TLC. It is one of Broward County’s largest and most diverse parks. With their many activities, WeLoveU organized to restore and clean the park to its original beauty on June 24, 2018.

Tradewinds Park & Stable’s New Look

The park needed a fresh coat of paint along with leaf-raking and trash disposal. In preparation for the activity, volunteers packed paint brushes, gloves, and trash bags. Once they arrived at the cleaning site, they divided into smaller groups to accomplish the work as quickly as possible.

Many painted the structures that remained standing after the harsh hurricane. More than five gallons of paint were used on one pavilion alone. Meanwhile, the rest of the volunteers picked up leaves and trash scattered throughout the park. By working together, they cleaned the park up in no time.

As volunteers continued working despite the summer heat, one thing was made apparent about them: their smiles! You can feel their happiness participating in the volunteer service in Tradewinds Park and Stable. Park visitors definitely took notice of their positive energy, too.

The Big Picture

By the end of the event, the volunteers took a group photo together in front of the Tradewinds Park and Stable sign.

Partaking in this cleanup taught the volunteers much more than what meets the eye. They left the park understanding a little more about why it’s important to organize and participate in community services. By doing so, they have the potential to kick-start a string of cleanups that better the environment.

WeLoveU believes that one person can spark change, but it cannot be done alone; it’s a group effort! Currently, volunteers in 67 countries in the world are actively preserving the environment through cleanups every year and in some areas—monthly.

WeLoveU Cleans Sendler Education Outpost in Florida’s Wildlife Refuge

WeLoveU Cleans Sendler Education Outpost in Florida’s Wildlife Refuge

Protecting the Wildlife’s Habitat

The WeLoveU Foundation partnered with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida. Around 500 species of wildlife call the National Wildlife Refuge their home. Within the refuge is the Sendler Education Outpost—a pavilion-style structure—which hosts environmental education activities and programs year-round.

More than 40 volunteers went to the outpost for a cleanup on June 17, 2018. The goal behind it is to create a cleaner and safer environment for the hundreds and thousands of students who frequently visit on field trips and the wildlife that inhabits the refuge.

This effort is part of WeLoveU’s Clean World Movement to raise awareness about the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change.

Getting an Early Start 

The group of volunteers met at the gazebo in the Sendler Education Outpost around 9 in the morning. For some, this meant their first time participating in a cleanup. By 11 a.m., National Wildlife Refuge volunteer coordinators, Emily and David, began by introducing themselves and welcoming the volunteers. Before the cleanup even began, they presented WeLoveU with a Certificate of Appreciation.

In addition, the coordinators explained where volunteers can start from and provided equipment. Tools used to carry out tasks carefully included gloves, garden loppers, and rakes.

Working Together

For three hours, they worked in small groups; each person with a different role. While some removed weeds entangled on trees, others cut thick palm leaves and tall grass with loppers. Another group grouped the debris into piles and others loaded them onto the Wildlife Refuge pickup trucks. From there, the trash was disposed in designated locations outside the outpost.

Despite the strong heat of the day, everyone worked hard without showing signs of slowing down until the job was completed. At the end of the cleanup, the volunteers double-checked to make sure all the trash was collected and all supplies were returned. The 40 volunteers successfully cleaned five acres of land and collected nearly 10,000 pounds of vegetation.

By the early afternoon, the group returned to the gazebo. The Merritt Island National Refuge awarded each volunteer with a free beach pass to the Canaveral National Seashore and a special sticker. The volunteers responded cheerfully, chanting their signature “We love you!” greeting to the Wildlife Refuge workers.

WeLoveU’s Fayetteville Cross Creek Project

WeLoveU’s Fayetteville Cross Creek Project

Let’s Make a Clean World!

Around 30 volunteers from the International WeLoveU Foundation came together in Fayetteville, North Carolina to clean Cross Creek on June 17, 2018. They arrived with an eagerness to lend a helping hand to the city. The volunteers united to clean, protect and preserve the river which was once the city’s epicenter for trade.

With local and regional partners planning to restore Cross Creek, WeLoveU is working towards that goal by removing as much litter and trash as possible. The volunteers carried this activity out under the organization’s Clean World Movement. It’s a global initiative crafted by WeLoveU’s Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah. The goal: to raise awareness about the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change.

Every year, WeLoveU chapters in more than 50 countries around the world organize cleanups in their respective areas. Climate change and environmental pollution are becoming a big focal point for many government officials including the United Nations. Keeping that in mind, WeLoveU carries out volunteer services for the betterment of the planet.

One Cleanup at a Time

The local volunteers in Fayetteville, North Carolina could not let this opportunity pass by them.

To serve their community, they assembled together in Festival Park where Cross Creek flows. All sorts of trash and debris covered the creek’s bank. Surprisingly, they found glass bottles, fallen tree limbs, damaged signs, broken iron rods and rusted pipes in and out of the creek. One by one they began picking up all the trash they could see including bigger items that required extra hands.

For this reason, their efforts brought a great relief to city officials who otherwise would’ve had to allocate many resources and manpower to complete this project. The WeLoveU volunteers were not the only ones excited about the cleanup. Motorists driving through the park and pedestrians strolling by were also happy. One of them said, “I haven’t seen this creek cleaned in years!” Overall, the participant’s filled 34 trash bags, not including the bulkier items they found.

As a puzzle is made up of many pieces, the volunteers cleaning Cross Creek is a piece of the Clean WORLD Movement. Learn more about WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement and make a difference in your community with a hands-on approach.

Volunteers Clean Seaside Park in Connecticut’s Historic Seaport City

Volunteers Clean Seaside Park in Connecticut’s Historic Seaport City

On June 17, 2018, more than 70 volunteers of the International WeLoveU Foundation joined forces with Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Park and Recreation Department to clean Seaside Park. Within Bridgeport—the largest and most historic city in the state—is the two and a half mile park bordering Bridgeport Harbor.

That is where volunteers throughout the state gathered to carry out a cleanup on Father’s Day. This volunteer service is part of WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement—a worldwide effort to raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change.

City & State Leaders Support WeLoveU

To kick-start, Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim spoke briefly to thank WeLoveU for coming to Seaside Park. He also went on to call the volunteers heroes for protecting the environment.

“I’d like to thank everyone who is here for the Clean WORLD Movement from WeLoveU. All of you have come here to clean up Seaside Park, this beautiful, natural asset that serves so many fathers and families, especially today. Thank you for your commitment to the environment and our beautiful mother earth and for making our world a better place,” said Mayor Ganim.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, who has been serving in the U.S. Senate since 2011, also attended. Before volunteers started to clean, he presented the WeLoveU Foundation with a Certificate of Special Recognition.

He said, “Cleaning this beach is really great work. It’s so important to make sure the next generation can benefit from this wonderful natural resource. That’s why I’m presenting you (WeLoveU) a Certificate of Special Recognition from the Senate of the United States. Thank you for the great work you did today and making this beach clean.”

Cleaning in the Historic Seaport City

Volunteers combed Seaside Park’s playgrounds, picnic areas, parking lots and seashore. To their surprise, they discovered debris hidden along the harbor’s rocky shoreline like old tires, fencing and plywood, bottles and food wrappers.

To carry out the volunteer service safely, the Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department equipped the group with supplies. All together, they collected approximately 40 bags of trash. The WeLoveU volunteers hope to not only provide a clean environment, but also an enjoyable park experience for all.

WeLoveU’s Chairwoman, Zahng Gil-jah, has led people around the world to become active volunteers to take action and do whatever we can to protect our environment. Especially as we continually see the effects of climate change become more serious. Through the areas of social and child welfare, disaster relief, and environmental cleanups, the Chairwoman’s example of giving love has spread from the east to the west and planted itself in more than 50 countries with more than 150,000 volunteers to inspire a healthy and hopeful future.

Click here to learn more about WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement.

New Jersey Volunteers Sweep the Streets of North Bergen

New Jersey Volunteers Sweep the Streets of North Bergen

On Your Marks, Get Set, Clean!

On Sunday, June 3, 2018, about 40 WeLoveU volunteers united to participate in an environmental cleanup in the Township of North Bergen, New Jersey. At the foot of 74th Street, refuse piled up due to littering and illegal garbage dumping. Upon hearing this, the members of WeLoveU jumped on board to clean the neighborhood and protect the environment.

The cleanup started around noon and volunteers wasted no time to clean. They picked up large items they found tucked in the trees like couches, mattresses, television sets and kitchen sinks. Among everything, they also collected bottles, plastic bags, and gasoline jugs. In two hours, they filled 35 bags of trash using 33 and 50-gallon bags.

This activity caught the attention of two public commissioners: Frank Gargiulo and Julio Marenco. They attended the cleanup expecting only a handful to participate, but to their surprise, 40 volunteers came together. Before leaving, they took group photos and said they will definitely notify the Mayor of the group’s effort.

Together We Can Go Far!

Overall, everyone had smiles on their faces from seeing the result of their labor. Their hope is to continue raising awareness about environmental protection while encouraging others to get involved too. It’s because the volunteers are on a mission to make a cleaner world—one project at a time.

Especially now, since many people are preoccupied by their own daily lives, the members aim to reignite a sense of community and neighborly love. Each volunteer comes from a different upbringing and culture, yet, their goal is the same: to embrace the world with the love of a mother through volunteer service. In order to do that, they wholeheartedly put their efforts into carrying out community service activities.

The Jersey Journal, a daily newspaper that covers news and events throughout the Hudson County, featured this story here.

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