Swinging weed cutters like they were taking on Tiger Woods at Augusta, the tall grass and insidious weeds were afforded no chance of survival.
High atop the city, upon the crest of the tall hill overlooking the McDermott Reservoir in Centralville, the 10 members of the Career Center of Lowell’s Van Crew spent a recent morning maintaining and beautifying one of the city’s most beautiful spots – not only cutting back overgrown grass, but picking up all types of trash from bottles and cans to the cardboard and paper remnants of a night (or several) of illegal fireworks shows.
While their friends may have been lounging on the beach, hanging out at home watching television or hanging out on the street and getting into trouble, these teens spent their summer working hard, about 4-5 hours a day. In a two month span, the roving band of budding landscapers cleaned up 28 locations across the city, from public parks and walkways to sidewalks and roadsides. They worked through the July heat wave; they worked in rain; they kept smiling.
On Tuesday afternoon the crew visited the Council Chamber at City Hall to meet Mayor Patrick Murphy and City Manager Bernie Lynch and receive a citation of recognition and a Lowell City Hall pin for their hard work.
Members of the Career Center of Lowell Van Crew include: Jeanelice Cruz, Adriel Garcia, Darren Jordan, John Mendonca, Anye Nkimbeng, Srey Rin, Jose Rodriguez, Julio Santiago and Juan Vega.
The Van Crew is just part of the summer youth programming, funded by YouthWorks, Shannon Public Safety and CFIRE grants, offered by the Career Center.
This summer, 281 interns were placed with 36 different non-profit and government agencies, including the Lowell Housing Authority, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Community Teamwork Inc., Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, Lowell City Hall (City Clerk, Assessor, Election and Recreation offices), the Lowell Water Department, and others. The interns worked at 52 different worksites citywide.
In addition to real world work experience, the program includes work readiness curriculum and workplace safety training programs.