MERIDEN — A sea of volunteers and city officials on the Meriden Green waited to head out for Mayor’s Community Cleanup Day on Saturday morning.
Mayor Kevin Scarpati collaborated with the Council of Neighborhoods and nonprofit Ball Headz to encourage city residents to clean up neighborhoods across the city from 9 a.m. to noon.
“I think it’s a great connection between the community and the mayor,” said Belen Michelis, the city’s strategic communications manager. “This is a great way for the community to be a part of something that’s impactful and they get to see the change.”
Rob Kosienski, the city’s constituent caseworker, helped to organize the event, which attracted over 150 volunteers. Many were youth looking to earn community service hours for school.
“We like to get the youth involved in the community,” Ball Headz director, Justin Mitchell said. “I think the easiest way is cleaning to keep the city and streets clean.”
Ball Headz mentors students and athletes to overcome hardships to become “productive, civic-minded, community members on and off the field,” according to the organization’s website.
All volunteers were given a list of locations that needed cleaning. Afterwards, city workers collected the bags filled with trash.
Anqi and Maggie Chen, two Maloney students and twin sisters, decided to volunteer after learning about the event through school.
“We wanted some community service hours,” Anqi Chen said. “We thought ‘what could we do that we would be able to get out and help the community’.
“A lot of city officials come out, councils come out,” Michelis said. “You really get to see the groups that put this together but also the groups that want to be a part of it. So I think that’s the best part of it.”