On Saturday, March 16, 2019, DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. and Strong Men Overcoming Obstacles Through Hard work, Temple Chapter collaborated on a street clean up at The U School. In attendance were DonCARES mentors: Giovanni Brown, Kasey Bethea, Kevin Jackson, Lucius Smart, and Corey Bennett & Donovan Forrest.
DonCARES Founder Donovan Forrest was highly inspired by the block clean-ups S.M.O.O.T.H committed themselves to in the North Philadelphia community earlier last year. One day during Spring Break, Forrest called Nasir Harris, VP of SMOOTH and asked him about the possibility of a block clean-up at The U School.
The U School is located at the corner of 7th and Norris, a few blocks away from Temple University and is the primary center of all DonCARES' mentoring efforts. Across the street from the school, new buildings are going up for low-income residents. Damontay Fowler, a senior at Temple University, said there is more that can be done about sanitary conditions in the neighborhood. After talking to a teenager in the neighborhood, Fowler said that not all trash in the streets comes from the residents. According to his conversation with the community member, much of the boxes on the ground are coming from construction workers who are working to build the new housing units. "We need to work more on prevention and not just on reactionary practices.": Fowler said to Forrest in their conversation after the service event. Forrest agreed and will work with S.M.O.O.T.H & Temple University Student Government to help set standards for those lesser term members of the North Philadelphia community such as Temple Students and Construction Workers. Many of the complaints of North Philadelphia community members include those about trash dumping and noise.
All in all, about 17 men showed up to clean the grounds around The U School including the front of the school, basketball court and court yard, dumpster section of the back of the school, and side walk and street on Norris Street. Within an hour, the volunteers collected seven bags of trash including and not limited to glass, boxes, sticks, spoiled food, and empty bottles. Temple University Police also helped provide trash bags and gloves for our volunteers.