Kutztown Community Partnership’s Safe Clean and Green committee hosted it’s first annual Safe, Clean & Green volunteer open house on Sunday, Oct. 22, in the back yard at the KCP office, 306 West Main Street.
KCP’s Safe Clean and Green committee works together with Peace. Love. Kutztown., Kutztown Thriving, KUBoK and the Sunday Clean Ups.
“Those are all groups that are really focused on bettering Kutztown for everyone to live in whether that’s our environment or making it a friendlier place to live,” said Maggie Stand, KCP office manager. “They’re working all together to do that.”
Stange believes initiatives like the Safe Clean and Green brings the community together and creates conversations.
“When you get together with a group of people who care about something, you get pollinator gardens planted, you get big community events that are just volunteer run and everyone has this strong sense of friendship,” said Stange.
The goal of the open house was to encourage more community members and KU students to volunteer at KCP. Attendees had a chance to talk to KCP volunteers about their experiences.
“Volunteering expands your network, it expands your experience and it lets you experience something outside of your own comfort zones whether it’s coming to a community center to make your town nicer and safer for everyone or volunteering with a dog shelter or other organizations that make communities stronger,” said Stange. “It’s a great thing to do.”
Stange said KCP is a great way to get involved in the community.
“You should be working to make the place you live a better place for everyone so coming out to join KCP is a way for you to directly do that here in Kutztown,” said Stange. “It really is a good place to live, work and play.”
The open house served as an opportunity to spread awareness about the KCP programs that make the town a safer, cleaner and greener environment with KUBoK, Kutztown Thriving, Peace. Love. Kutztown and Sunday Clean Ups.
“All four of these programs come under the umbrella of Safe Clean and Green committee,” said KCP volunteer Arabel Elliott, Kutztown.
Peace. Love. Kutztown., headed by Beth Patten, promotes peace and understanding and inclusion. For example, the Peace Day event held at Kutztown University and Kutztown School District on International Peace Day on Sept. 21 used art projects to promote peace and inclusion.
“They are working primarily to promote inclusion and to make all members of the community feel welcome,” said Elliott.
For the KUBoK neighborhood watch, which was started after the 2007 death of KU student Kyle Quinn, volunteers walk on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays evenings, offering safe escort and maintaining a safe presence.
“They ensure safety for residents and students if people need assistance getting somewhere,” said Elliott. “It’s mostly that they are a presence for a safe and aware peaceful community.”
Kutztown Thriving, headed by Robyn Underwood, planted a community garden and conducts environmental education projects such as an auction of rain barrels painted by local artists.
“The rain barrels were designed to raise people’s awareness of water usage, water consumption, how to effectively use water in your gardens and your home and that you can use rain barrels for that,” said Elliott.
Earlier that day prior to the KCP open house, about 70 volunteers participated in the Sunday Clean Up event to clean up trash throughout Kutztown. Held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., typical attendance for Clean Ups is about 40 to 50 people.
“They promote a healthy and environmentally green Kutztown,” said Elliott. “Last year we had over 500 volunteers come out during the school year and that’s a lot of Kutztown University students, a lot of Greek organizations, sports teams but then there are also community members, church groups and students from Kutztown School District.”
KCP social work intern Cole Mitchell, a KU student, oversees the Clean Ups as part of his internship.
“It’s a way for the community, the students and the towns people, to come together and help keep their streets clean,” said Mitchell. “It’s a fair number of community members that come out and Greek organizations and clubs from the University. Some come out for community service hours but some of them do come out just to give back to the community because Kutztown does feel like a home to them and they want to help make it look good.”
Through his internship, Mitchell has learned the importance of the community coming together.
“We’re all in this together, not only in keeping it clean. As a world as a whole, pretty much everything we do affects the people around us,” Mitchell said.