Bensonhurst sees change through youth

On Wednesday, August 20, nearly 100 youth volunteers from local Brooklyn schools gathered on 86th Street to bring a change to the neighborhood.

The volunteers met with Assemblymember William Colton for another successful installment of his “Speak-up and Clean-up” Campaign, launched in 2011. Students from high schools such as the District 9 High School, New Utrecht, Midwood, Brooklyn Technical High School, Edward R. Murrow, Madison, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Dewey teamed up with youth from the Our Lady of Grace Teen Group and the Bensonhurst Cluster Youth Ministry.

Volunteers swept, picked up litter and distributed flyers about how to keep the area clean from Bay 25th Street to 16th Avenue along 86th Street, and from Benson Avenue to 82nd Street along 18th Avenue.

“We’re encouraging young people to come and to give something back to the neighborhood,” said Colton. When referring to the litter in the neighborhood, the Assemblymember said, “We can complain about it and say, ‘That’s terrible,’ or we can do something about it.”

And this campaign does more for the community than just clean it.

“When you keep a neighborhood clean, it makes a difference in terms of how the neighborhood operates,” said Colton to his army of volunteers. “It’s all part of an overall mentality that we want to create in this neighborhood so that people want to speak up and do what’s good to improve the quality of the neighborhood.”

Democratic district leader candidate Nancy Tong also believes this campaign will benefit the future: “Later on in life [the volunteers] will know what is expected, what a clean neighborhood is supposed to be,” she noted.

City Councilmember Mark Treyger, a leader in the “Speak-Up & Clean-Up” campaign, said, “Every New Yorker deserves safe, clean streets, which are a sign of a thriving, caring and welcoming community.”

So far, the campaign has been a success.

“I see a big improvement in a lot of the streets where we’ve been doing these clean-ups,” said Colton.

Priscilla Consolo, who began the campaign with Colton, said, “This campaign has only been so successful thanks to all our young volunteers who have shown tremendous dedication.”

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