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Youth workers help with parks

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By Don Pace

Money from a “Keep America Beautiful” grant has come to the rescue of an overburdened city staff responsible for maintaining city parks.

Seven Las Vegas high school students have been busy raking, mulching, painting and doing a general cleanup around parks and streets.

KAB Coordinator Kathy Fisher said she got a grant to hire local kids for summer work, and those driving around Plaza Park may have seen the good work they have been doing for their community.

“I’ve set up a monthly schedule that includes sprucing up all the parks in the city. We’re doing graffiti removal, painting the gazebos, landscaping, mulching and planting flowers. What I want to do is start and finish a project, instead of doing little things here and there. We want to finish a project before we move on to another on,” Fisher said.

Fisher said she hired a good crew, who all expressed a desire to spend their summer learning new skills while being outdoors.

“We asked applicants if they were interested in landscaping and planting things and working outside. And I did let them know that we are going to be working. We’ll be having fun, but we will be working at the same time,” Fisher said. “They also learn how to get along with one another, how to get to work on time, and being courteous to those around them.”

Robertson High School junior David Lucero said he was having fun, and putting money into his savings account.

“We’re going around town picking up trash, making the park better for the fiestas, and over here we’re doing a little mulching and placing rocks around flower beds. We’re also painting over graffiti around town, and it’s a lot of fun,” Lucero said.

Family Partnership School sophomore Jacqueline Padilla was putting down her shovel and picking up a paint roller as she headed to her next project at the gazebo.

“Plaza Park is looking beautiful, and I’m proud to be a part of making it look so good,” Padilla said with a smile. The Family Partnership sophomore said her money would help her buy a car, as she was getting her driver’s permit in August.

Solid Waste Director Alvin Jiron said the Keep America Beautiful youths are part of a larger city initiative to employ young people for the summer.

“With the help of the mayor and council, we hired about 50 kids, and at solid waste, we got seven students. We’re beautifying the park, and getting ready for the Fourth of July Fiestas. Something that the community can really be proud of as they see what the children of the city are capable of doing. This is an important part of our town and we want it to stand out,” Jiron said.

Jiron said the kids are doing such great things that he was also caught up in their enthusiasm and had to grab a shovel, so that he too could put in a few hours work in this labor of love.