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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.

Strenghten 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 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 heavier flow 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, stormwater retention, and adds nutrients to the Bay Area. This part of NYC remained untouched for two decades. However, after Superstorm Sandy slammed the tri-state 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.

State Rep Jared Solomon Joins WeLoveU Castor Avenue Cleanup

State Rep Jared Solomon Joins WeLoveU Castor Avenue Cleanup

Working Together for A Cleaner World

The International WeLoveU Foundation celebrated Father’s Day with a spin! On Sunday, June 16, 2019, Castor Avenue was abuzz with more than fifty volunteers. The group met to clean Castor Avenue in partnership with State Representative Jared Solomon. The 202nd district where Castor Avenue is located is one of the busiest streets. This collective effort is part of WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement, an environmental protection effort.

>> Read about more Clean WORLD Activities in Pennsylvania

For some volunteers, this was their second time cleaning this area. Last fall, volunteers joined forces with the Oxford Circle neighborhood to fulfill the city’s goal of zero litter. Altogether, they collected 50 bags along Summerdale Avenue—parallel to Castor Avenue.

>> Read about the Summerdale Avenue Cleanup

Starting around 11 a.m., the volunteers and Representative Solomon walked down the street with trash bags in hand. They picked up whatever they could on their path like plastic bottles, wrappers and litter obstructing the storm drains. 

Together, they filled 30 bags of trash! Throughout the course of the event, those residing on Castor Avenue took notice. While some waved from a distance, others stepped out of their homes to talk to the volunteers.

State Representative Jared Solomon congratulated the volunteers for their remarkable efforts by saying, “Every single day we make a decision about what our community looks like.” He continued, “If we’re going to be engaged or not, and every time we need to make a decision to pick up a piece of trash. We say ‘yes’ to our community. ‘Yes’ to a new day and our neighborhoods. Thank you so much. I love the relationship with WeLoveU.”

The WeLoveU Foundation volunteers have completed numerous cleanups throughout the City of Brotherly Love alongside Rep. Solomon. WeLoveU is happy to honor their continued relationship with him and look ahead to more opportunities to meet the needs of the city. At the Pennsylvania State Capitol where WeLoveU received a Certificate of Recognition, Solomon said, “You cannot rebuild, revitalize a community without strong partners.”

Working together to make the global village a better place is what the WeLoveU Foundation aspires to accomplish. In fact, one of the 17 Global Goals is Partnership for the Goals, which WeLoveU encourages everyone from government agencies to companies, and from institutions to individuals to put into practice to transform our world.

WeLoveU Volunteers Assist Elderly Hampton Resident with Yardwork

WeLoveU Volunteers Assist Elderly Hampton Resident with Yardwork

Helping Our Neighbors

Forty volunteers from the WeLoveU Foundation gathered together in Hampton, Virginia on a resident’s front lawn to lend a helping hand. The resident—92 year-old Ms. Celestine Monroe—has lived in her Hampton home for the past 47 years. However, because of difficulty, Ms. Monroe has not been able to take care of her yard as she has hoped.

So, on Sunday, May 26, 2019, volunteers from WeLoveU came to do just that—assist with yardwork! When they first arrived, Ms. Monroe was shocked to see so many volunteers come together to help her. She began by saying to the group, “Forty-seven years I lived here, and it’s the worse it’s looked.”

Rollin’ Up Our Sleeves!

With a sense of urgency to help Ms. Monroe, volunteers began working right away. A few started painting the fence, cleaning out the gutters and power washing the house. Still others began refurbishing her swing, pulling up weeds, and bundling dead branches from the back yard. These cleanup efforts grabbed the attention of neighbors on the block and drivers. As Ms. Monroe was monitoring the work, she said, “I am so grateful, I love it! [I] love it that there are so many people, young people that care about the elderly in Hampton. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

The Hampton Community Coming Together

Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck heard about this cleanup and stopped by. He shared many words of encouragement and thanks to the WeLoveU volunteers. Likewise, Ms. Spragen, City Development for Hampton representative, who helped coordinate this project arrived as well.  

She was moved to see WeLoveU’s enthusiasm to assist Ms. Monroe. The WeLoveU Foundation finds it very important to help our senior citizens, especially since they devoted their lives to building today’s society through their hard work. She reiterated numerous times how amazing it is to see people from all backgrounds express their love for the community through actions.

“When I turned the corner, actually it was breathtaking, overwhelming, jaw dropping, all of that. And I think it is a wonderful thing and hope you continue to do good work. Thank you all so much. The hardest thing to do is the right thing, so please continue to do the right thing.”

50 WeLoveU Volunteers Tend to Hampton’s Phoebus Community Garden

50 WeLoveU Volunteers Tend to Hampton’s Phoebus Community Garden

Volunteers Dedicating Their Sunday in Hampton, VA ♥

It was a busy day for WeLoveU volunteers in Hampton, Virginia on Sunday, May 26, 2019. Earlier in the day, 40 volunteers assisted an elderly Hampton resident with yardwork. Now, another group of WeLoveU volunteers are dedicating time to Hampton’s Community Garden.

Fifty volunteers arrived just before noon at the Phoebus Community Garden. Wendy Iles, the Community Garden Coordinator, welcomed the group and began instructing them on what needs to be done at the garden. A great garden requires a lot of preparation, so WeLoveU volunteers paid special attention to everything that’s needed.

Preparing the Community Garden for Summer!

The Phoebus Community Garden includes 50 plots—six of which are handicap accessible. At the plots, residents can plant vegetables, fruits and plants. It’s a community staple to unite the community and families.  The volunteers began tending the garden by pulling up weeds, reupholstering signs, pruning bushes, replanting and picking up trash. All hands were on deck for this project!

Altogether, it took the group about three hours. During that time, Hampton Mayor Tuck, officers from the Sheriff’s Department and Channel 3 news stopped by. Mayor Tuck introduced himself to each and every volunteer, shaking their hands.

The mayor took some time to share some words to the volunteers.

He said, “What is extra special is that, to my knowledge, there are not many of you who have direct ties to our city. So, to have folks from outside, who are willing to come into this space is spectacular. The volunteers are spectacular. It is amazing [that] these young people would gie up their time to come from different communities…it’s an emotion that I can’t express with words, but felt in my heart.”

By the early afternoon, volunteers collected about 800 pounds of trash. WeLoveU hopes today’s event results in uniting the community to participate at the Phoebus Community Garden. It’s a beautiful staple in the city of Hampton and promotes a clean and health environment. 

Wendy Iles also shared a few words: 

When you all say you are going to show up, you show up! You show up ready to go and enthusiastic. Truly, you all embody your organization’s mission and I sincerely appreciate that and believe me, if I didn’t get to share with everyone in Hampton, Mayor Donnie Tuck certainly will. He enjoyed meeting with each of you today.”

In addition to cleaning the Phoebus Community Center, WeLoveU volunteers have carried out multiple cleanups throughout Hampton, Virginia. Check out WeLoveU’s cleanups on North King Street and Central Park! All of these volunteer service activities are part of WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement.

WeLoveU Cleans Blackstone and Franklin Square on Earth Day

WeLoveU Cleans Blackstone and Franklin Square on Earth Day

Celebrating Earth Day in a Big Way 

The International WeLoveU Foundation volunteers in New England region visited Blackstone and Franklin Squares for a third time in celebration of Earth Day.

On Sunday, April 28, 2019, more than 100 WeLoveU volunteers partnered up with Rick Thompson from Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Toni Crothall from Blackstone and Franklin Squares Neighborhood Association.

The volunteers began streaming into the squares on Sunday morning with their bright blue shirts. Despite the wind and pending rain, they came fully energized to clean the green spaces in honor of Earth Day. In just three hours, they filled 110 brown bags with leaves and branches.

While sharing kind words with the volunteers, Toni Crothall from the squares association spoke a few words about WeLoveU’s Chairwoman who inspires the group to get out and be active. “I want to say thank you. I do not know how your heart got into the heart of all of these wonderful people. I am personally grateful for how they touched my small community.”

Unity in the Community

Massachusetts State Representative Jon Santiago made a special appearance thanking the volunteers for dedicating their day to cleaning the Blackstone and Franklin Squares.

“Thank you so much for coming over here, for bringing your folks over here for the third year,” said State Representative Santiago. “I hope there will be many more years in the future and I look forward to getting more involved in the years to come. So, I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of the South End neighborhood, from the friends of Blackstone, and Toni as well. This was very, very much appreciated.”

However, he wasn’t the only one who had some nice words to share with the WeLoveU group for their Earth Day activities! During the cleanup, multiple residents joined the group by raking leaves alongside the volunteers. There were others walking by that couldn’t join but expressed their gratitude to the participants. Many walked up to the WeLoveU information booth set up in Blackstone Square, displaying the works of the organization locally and globally.  

“I appreciate everything you [WeLoveU] are doing. I’m glad I came out here today to help clean up the park and it looks a whole lot better than it did before and I definitely plan to be doing some more of this in the future. Next time something comes up, I’m all about it.” – Andrew, Air Force Serviceman from Pease Air National Guard Base

Until Next Time, Boston! 

By the end of the afternoon, the WeLoveU volunteers felt they had accomplished their goal of encouraging and educating the Boston community to care more for their environment. This Earth Day cleanup marks WeLoveU’s third time working in the South End neighborhood in Boston. Through future projects, WeLoveU only hopes to strengthen its relationship with the public officials and carry out even more meaningful projects.

The Earth Day cleanup is part of a bigger picture—WeLoveU’s Clean WORLD Movement. It’s a global effort to raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change. At the same time, it aligns with the SDGs of Climate Action and Life on Land.

See what Boston Fox 25 News had to say about WeLoveU’s Earth Day cleanup! 

WeLoveU Takes on Three-Day Ridgefield Nature Center Project

WeLoveU Takes on Three-Day Ridgefield Nature Center Project

#EarthDay2019

On Earth Day 2019, the WeLoveU chapters in North New Jersey mustered up volunteers at the Ridgefield Nature Center. The environmental project launching in Ridgefield, New Jersey took Earth Day to another level as the project lasted several days. Earth Week? Almost! The group previously worked with Ridgefield when more than 150 volunteers cleaned along Wolf Creek.

For over a decade, the Ridgefield Nature Center has been closed to the public because of the lack of proper maintenance. It even reached the point of being deemed as the “dead forest.”  Vines grew exponentially, leaving many trees dead. That’s why part of the project involves picking up dead branches in order to make wood chips to lay on the walkways. Hundreds of tree lumber on the ground and vines overtaking the nature center is why it is now called the “dead forest.”

The International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region took notice of the Ridgefield Nature Center’s condition and asked about making this once-forgotten center the town’s re-connection to nature. What better day to create change than on Earth Day? On April 22, 24 and 25, approximately 120 volunteers took action at the Ridgefield Nature Center.

Every morning, 40 volunteers gathered at the Ridgefield Community Center, located right next to the center. At that time WeLoveU volunteers, workers from the DPW and Recycling Coordinator Millie Rojas discussed the plan for the respective day. It was an exciting and productive week for WeLoveU and the Ridgefield Community.  

“The job that they [WeLoveU] do, they work together as a team, and they help one another. You see one carrying a log, before you know it, there’s like five people carrying the same log. The love you see is incredible,” says Millie Rojas, Recycling Coordinator. “If there were more people like the Chairperson [of WeLoveU],  our world would be different today.”

The Nature Center’s Background Story

The Ridgefield Nature Center was previously owned by a water delivery company called the Great Bear. In 1975, ownership of the center changed to the hands of the town borough. After that time, the center was opened to the public once a week on Saturday’s. Eventually, it became a desolate space and restricted property surrounded by a fence to keep trespassers out.

For decades, the 5.4-acre land remained isolated until WeLoveU sought to revitalize it completely.

“It means a lot to me and it’s going to mean a lot to the community,” said Superintendent of Public Works Joe Greco when asked what this project means to him and the community. “Since it has been closed for a couple years, now it’s going to be reopening and accessible.”  

Sustainable Revitalization

WeLoveU volunteers completed phase one of the revitalization project by working diligently for four hours a day for three days. They removed decaying wood and laid down logs and wood chips for the outlined path. Though significant progress has been made, there is much more to do.

“The work that they [WeLoveU] did in three days would probably take me about six months. Phenomenal job,” said Joe Greco.

Projects are underway for WeLoveU to continue revitalizing the Ridgefield Nature Center. However, not without help. The project will call for help from local residents, business owners, students and public servants. Everyone and anyone has an opportunity to help reopen the Ridgefield Nature Center with WeLoveU. 

The main goal of the project is to completely transform the nature center into a county attraction for families, students and locals. WeLoveU hopes it will be a place for promoting the importance of ecosystems, environmental education, appreciation for nature, and inspire others to combat climate change.

Volunteers Spruce up McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte

Volunteers Spruce up McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte

A healthy and clean environment is a requisite for a happy life.

What better way to start your week than by cleaning your neighborhood park? That’s how more than 30 volunteers from the International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region spent their Sunday on March 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The group of volunteers gathered bright and early at McAlpine Creek Park. The all-inclusive 114-acre county park has a lake, fishing pier, soccer fields, hiking and biking trails, and a dog park. The park’s walkways are lined with tall green trees—easy for anyone to get lost in the great outdoors. 

The McAlpine Creek Park is a common place for families to spend time barbecuing and holding picnics and walking their dogs. Even employees from nearby businesses take walks on their breaks and sports teams fellowship with each other. With so much to offer, the park’s influx of traffic also means frequent maintenance is needed.

Working Together Hand-in-Hand

The WeLoveU volunteers rolled up their sleeves, ready to clean McAlpine Creek Park. For them, cleaning the park is another way to strengthen the camaraderie seen in Charlotte. By showing WeLoveU cares for their neighborhood, they hope more local residents will also participate in future cleanups.

While picking up trash along the Greenway, volunteers met several locals visiting the park in the daytime. A few of them expressed their thanks to the organization for their kind gesture of cleaning McAlpine Creek Park. Little by little, volunteers picked up food wrappers, plastic bottles, to even electrical poles. By the end of the cleanup, the bits and pieces they found along trails resulted in 30 bags of trash!

The WeLoveU volunteers realize that a beautiful community is possible when people come together, cleaning hand-in-hand. In fact, a message the WeLoveU Foundation highlights in the Clean WORLD Movement is that a healthy and clean environment is a requisite for a happy life. WeLoveU believes by working together, wonderful results can be achieved.

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