Nine city blocks in the historic Oliver Community are a little cleaner thanks to the help of Baltimore Clean Streets.
Marques Dente is the mastermind behind the community cleanup.
“We catch them young get them out here show them the right things to do daily and then they’ll grow into beautiful citizens moving forward,” said Dente.
One of the young members of Clean Streets is Chase Scott, a second grader at Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School.
“So, the whole neighborhood can be clean and spotless, so clean that everybody can have just have fun,” Scott said.
Scott was out with three of his friends he calls his squad cleaning up the neighborhood around their school.
“Grabbed some gloves put gloves and then pick trash up,” said Tyrone Tate a second grader at Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School. “We went around the building and picked stuff up.”
Once every two weeks, Dente and his team recruit new young members for cleanups around their schools.
“If we highlight our young people and show that they're invested in our communities then we as adults need to invest not only in our communities but in them so we can grow together,” said Dente.
The volunteers are from Baltimore City Sheriff's Office, community leaders, and ex-convicts like Dawayne Benbow Jr.
He was incarcerated for 7 years and has he's turned his life around to become an entrepreneur changing the lives of young people in the city.
“When I was their age I didn’t have nobody that was really pulling and pushing and trying to make me go that way,” Benbow Jr. Said. “I had individuals in my life that told me what to do but never told me how to do it.”
People see them cleaning up and offer to help.
Shandra Worthy-Owens is the principal at Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary, and she is proud of her boys.
“They are actually prouder after they’ve cleaned up themselves,” Owens said. “We actually had kindergarten students go out today to clean up. They want to do it, they want to have a clean space to say this is a part of me.”
Dejuan Walker, the lone third grader of the group, said they want to clean up because it’s fun and everyone is happier with a cleaner city.
“There’s just a lot of bad violence around the city. We just want to help our environment out, so everybody can be positive and people will really want to start coming here,” Walker said.
The goal is to get this going all over the city, and they’re not looking for monetary donations or grants.
They just want people to help them do the work and bring some trash bags gloves to help.