Blog post written by Julia Trigg Crawford, Chairperson, Keep Paris Beautiful/Make Lamar County Shine
If you’re like me, this past year opened your eyes to many things…the science of proper handwashing, the art of lighting the room for a Zoom call, and the reality of the unheralded superheroes who work among us like nurses, grocery store workers, and garbage collectors! We also came to realize that no matter the challenge, no high the mountain of vaccines to administer or recyclables to collect, it is the magic combination of partnership and passion that fuels amazing work in our communities. Our Keep Paris Beautiful/Make Lamar County Shine (KPB) team took this last lesson to heart recently as we re-energized our organization by forging new alliances and expanding our volunteer and sponsor base to build our own new team of superheroes.
KPB was founded in 1999 and has a storied history of promoting volunteerism and education to maximize the beauty of the City of Paris and surrounding Lamar County. We’re best known for our tree giveaways, park restorations, city beautification, tire collection events, electronics recycling, and neighborhood cleanup days.
Last year brought many changes to our community here in far Northeast Texas, and one of them was the opportunity to infuse new life into KPB. We made some minor bylaw modifications that allowed us to be more nimble, and we opened up the background requirements of those who could serve on our Board of Directors. As a result, the new KPB Board members who were installed in late 2020 brought with them their own unique perspectives and enthusiasm, and this has been the launchpad for our newfound direction. We’re reaching out beyond our traditional partners to build new relationships, and we’re undertaking projects never considered before. These new collaborations and the energy and ideas they bring are helping KPB better address our community’s evolving needs. And best of all, everyone who is involved is having fun!
Through a new alliance with local employer, Campbell Soup, we recently brought the first-ever Glass Collection/Recycling Day to our area. We collected over 2 tons of glass in just a few hours, and the event was so well attended we’re working toward making it a regular event. KPB recently partnered with members of the Northeast Texas Trail Coalition to clean up several miles of our area’s premier pedestrian, bicycle, and equestrian trail. We saw that our local trees needed some TLC with all the ice and snow damage they incurred this spring, so we’ve organized an event to educate folks on proper tree pruning. In doing so KPB is bringing together a local Garden Study Club, the City of Paris, and a certified arborist eager to make the trek from 100 miles away to bring his expertise to our event.
These new projects, and certainly all that are to come are the result of KPB’s intentional pursuit of teaming opportunities. The strength is in linking arms with other volunteers and organizations who are just as committed as we are to making positive change in our community. There’s strength in the collective that’s so much more powerful than going it alone. So whether it is KPB and the Chisum Junior High BETA Club volunteers cleaning up the Trail de Paris, or KPB and Campbell Soup co-sponsoring a glass collection day, the beauty is in the collaboration and the pride in making our community a better place to live. That’s what Keep Paris Beautiful/Make Lamar County Shine is all about, and we’re excited for what projects are ahead!
Learn more about our Affiliates of the Month at ktb.org/aom.