Every morning, Kassidy and Van Lively would stand at the end of the street in their small community to wait for their school bus. Unfortunately, they had a less than perfect view - pounds of trash littered the road and treeline, from styrofoam, cans and bottles to fast food wrappers and cigarette butts.
“Every day, both of them say ‘we should clean up that trash, it's nasty!’” Sherri Lively, their mom, said. “It’s so bad for the Earth.” So, in March, when their school temporarily closed, the Lively family suddenly had more time on their hands and they wanted to do something important and impactful with it.
“I’ve always loved animals,” Kassidy, age 11, said, “and as I got older, I learned more about how they are dying and how the environment is not doing so well right now, and I just really wanted to do something.”
On their first Thursday home, armed solely with gloves and some giant trash bags, Kassidy, Van and Sherri ventured out with a goal of picking up trash and cleaning up their neighborhood. That day, they picked up more than 50 pounds of trash from the roadside.
“It’s fun to do together,” Sherri said. “It’s nice to get out and get fresh air, and we get time to chat and not be on electronics.” Each week the Lively family goes out, they return with 50 pounds or more of trash, from cans and bottles to left behind construction materials, and even a discarded mini boogie board and beach ball.
Lively family helping with Community clean up
Passionate about the cause, this isn’t the Lively family’s first experience with saving the planet. They have bamboo toothbrushes and metal straws instead of plastic, use reusable bags and containers for packed lunches and snacks, and recycle everything they can.
Even the schools in their area, a rural suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, are “green schools,” helping to create a cleaner, greener place to learn, work, and live. Last year, when Kassidy was in elementary school, she and a group of friends got together to form a Green Team at school, raising awareness of the importance of recycling and encouraging the school and community to take part in recycling programs.
Now that she’s in middle school, they want to start doing more projects related to saving the planet.
The Lively family says they will continue to pick up trash throughout the summer, and are encouraging friends and others in their community to join them every Thursday morning, even asking others to share pictures on social media while getting involved. Sort of like a “clean up trash club,” said nine-year-old Van.
“[We have to] take care of our planet,” Kassidy said. “We share it with all the animals and they don’t litter, humans do. We’ve got to stop.”
Do you want to help make a difference in your own community? Join the Lively family on Thursday mornings and clean up trash in your own neighborhood! Then, post a photo on social media using #AAATrashTag.