Blog Post Written By Charlotte Anderson, President of Keep San Angelo Beautiful
As America Recycles Day quickly approaches, I’m so inspired by our amazing community. I think about 9-year-old Ella Elkins, a 5th grader at Ft. Concho Elementary who’s been doing great things in San Angelo for a couple of years. She’s made it her mission to educate herself and her community about the danger plastics, like straws and bags, can cause to marine life. She has held two recycling events at HEB, where you bring 50 plastic bags and you get your own recycled, reusable bag. Ella has recycled over 7,000 bags and says, “You’re doing something that helps everyone learn and make the world a better place.” Creating awareness is key, and Ella is certainly taking responsibility and doing her part to change our future in San Angelo and around the world.
After forming Keep San Angelo Beautiful, we knew we needed to develop an exciting children’s program, comprised of multiple layers, to have a great impact on our community. Recycle for a Bicycle “R4AB” is one of our programs and our goal is threefold:
- Initiate Environmental Awareness, Education & Clean-Up Activities
- Introduce our students to “Recycling”
- Create Jr. KSAB Ambassadors, Volunteers & Advocates
To initiate our program, we began collecting a variety of educational materials that appeal to students at the elementary level. Next, we introduced our students to materials that can be recycled through basic identification and activities like sorting, puzzles and making recycled objects. Our students are always very interested in learning that bikes can be made of recycled plastics and metals. As we go through our lessons, we provide great activities that bring freedom, exploration, and adventure associated with a bike to recycling. In addition, we bring clean-up initiatives to our campuses and our businesses to beautify and enhance our community within a one-mile radius of each school. Finally, we conclude with a Jr. KSAB Ambassador pledge that each of our students take to help make a difference in the San Angelo Community.
Our journey began with the YMCA when we formed a partnership to provide recycling, water conservation and environmental education to the afterschool students on our 25 elementary campuses. We then reached out to the community for potential partnerships, 1st Community Federal Credit Union quickly joined our recycling initiatives. “Our mission definitely aligns with Keep San Angelo Beautiful to promote recycling and the environment”, said Vicki Loso, V.P. of Business Development at 1st Community. We also applied for an HEB Green Bag Grant through Keep Texas Beautiful, which will provide for the bicycles we are giving away. After each student finishes his/her lessons, they will take a pledge not to litter, to recycle when they can, and become a Jr. KSAB Ambassador. They will also receive a certificate and business card to remind them of their commitment and their accomplishments. In addition, we perform clean-up activities and reach out to local businesses to pledge to be “DEBRIS FREE” and recycle. We also provide them with a poster to display stating, “THIS FACILITY RECYCLES to Keep San Angelo Beautiful.” These KSAB Jr. Ambassadors will be entered into a random drawing and KSAB will give away 25 bicycles, one on each elementary campus. I can think of no better way to engage students than with a special gift that represents exploration and adventure, like a bike. We will have competitions, like “Ready to Recycle” or “The Great Dumpster Dive”, to promote items that can be re-used and recycled. Some of our elementary campuses will want to take their education to the next level through Texas Research Institute of Young Scholars “TRIYS” competitions and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, “STEAM” activities. Keep San Angelo Beautiful will be right there with them, giving them the tools they need to make a difference on their campus and in our community.
In San Angelo, we are definitely planting the seeds for our future and just like Ella, our Jr. KSAB Ambassadors will lead the way. Follow us on Facebook for up to date information on activities and events.