Teen-agers from the Perris Youth Advisory Committee used rakes, shovels, muscle-power and sweat to clean-up a tire dump and a trash-strewn residence and improve the overall appearance of the City.
Perris City Councilman David Starr Rabb joined the young volunteers May 16 as they put a huge dent into a pile of tires in a lot west of Perris Boulevard. Then a group from the YAC tackled years of accumulated trash at a Murrieta Road residence.
Rabb said he was impressed with the commitment displayed of the 13 volunteers from the Youth Advisory Committee, which was formed two years ago as a way to involve middle and high-school students in civic affairs.
“It’s hard work but we are making a difference,” Rabb said during a break from tire hauling and loading. “I appreciate the young people coming out and working hard, with no complaints.”
The YAC volunteers, Rabb and Perris City staff members tackled areas badly in need of a little tender, loving care. The cleanup was part of an overall effort sponsored by the City and CR&R, Perris’ refuse collection contractor. Hundreds of people took advantage of the free opportunity to drop off trash, and discarded building materials, metal, paper products, cardboard, wood and porcelain. A steady stream of cars and trucks lined up at the former Perris police station on Fourth Street to unload trash.
Rabb said the community clean-up instills pride in people and their City.
“It gets people involved in their community and hopefully gets them to think twice before they throw trash around,” he said. “People see other people cleaning up and that instills a work ethic, cooperation and teamwork. I am happy to take part in cleaning up my community because I want people to know I care and am willing to help out.”
The Youth Advisory Committee members expressed similar sentiments.
India Rockett, 15, a sophomore at Rancho Verde High School, said the cleanup provided Perris teen-agers an opportunity to show community pride.
“It’s a lot of hard work but it’s worth it,” she said as she toted a tire toward a Dumpster. “I’m glad to be able to show that teen-agers can make a difference.”
The youngest member of the YAC, Dianne Ochoa, 14, said she took part in the cleanup—her first youth committee activity—to “make a positive change in my community.” Dianne attends Tomas Rivera Middle School.
“I’ve lived in Perris my whole life and I want to make it better,” she said. “We are making it better by working as a team.”
Bernice Trigueros, 15, who attends Rancho Verde High School, said working at the community clean-up makes teen-agers feel important.
“We all need to have a voice in our community,” she said. “We complain but not a lot of us step up to make a difference. I want to step up and be one of those teen-agers who are involved in their community and set an example.”
By day’s end, the teens and adult workers had removed hundreds of tires and mounds of trash. Loose trash bagged, heavier items like tossed into Dumpsters. The work was tiring; the reward well-earned.
“Knowing we can help our community excites my heart,” said Brian Rodriguez, 17, who attends Ranch Verde High School. “All this teamwork is awesome. Everybody is working together as a unit.”
Sara Cortes de-Pavon, who helped coordinate the cleanup for the City of Perris, summed up the effort by saying “Wow, you all did a great job. We worked fast and the improvement shows.”
Other Perris employees taking part in the cleanup included Rebecca Miranda, Josh Estrada, Juan Rodriguez and Amanda Juarez.
The complete list of YAC volunteers who participated in the cleanup included:
- Shaeera Ahmed; YAC President; 12th grade Rancho Verde High School (attending UC Berkeley in the fall)
- Amanda Torres; YAC representative; 12th grade Rancho Verde High School (attending University of California in the fall)
- Vanessa Garcia; YAC representative; 12th grade Rancho Verde High School (attending University of California in the fall)
- India Rockett; YAC Historian; 10th grade Rancho Verde High School
- Bernice Tiqueros; new YAC representative; 10th grade Rancho Verde High School
- Brian Rodriguez; new YAC representative; 11th grade Rancho Verde High School
- Dianne Ochoa; new YAC representative; 8th grade Tomas Rivera Middle School
- Mercedes Chavez; volunteer; 10th grade Perris High School
- Mina West, volunteer; Rancho Verde High School
- Samantha Chavez; volunteer; Pinacate Middle School
- Viviana Pavon-Cortes; volunteer; 10th grade Temescal Canyon High School
- Danielle Wipprecht; volunteer; 12th grade Citrus High School
- Eric Garcia; volunteer; 12th grade Citrus High School