The 2017 community action projects are underway and one of this year’s teams is supporting the City of New Bedford’s NBClean initiative.
What is the project about?
Christina Connelly, the Assistant Chief of Staff to Mayor Jon Mitchell and point person on the Mayor’s comprehensive cleanliness initiative called NBClean, explains: “It’s an effort by the City of New Bedford to improve the attractiveness and livability of the city by reducing the amount of trash and litter in our neighborhoods, roads, gateway areas, and commercial districts.”
“A major component of [NBClean] is community outreach and engagement. The multi-faceted plan we devised to guide the initiative includes ten action items related to community engagement, but we struggled to find the capacity internally to drive that part of the agenda. At the same time, it occurred to me that we had a grassroots organization—Operation Clean Sweep—that was the perfect vehicle to drive the agenda, but as an all-volunteer organization, they also have capacity limitations,” explains Christina. “Knowing that Leadership South Coast puts together teams of talented, energetic, action –oriented people to engage in community projects, I thought that if we could present a project to Leadership South Coast whereby one of their teams could be assigned to provide OCS with technical assistance and capacity building in order to further our common goals, it would be a win-win-win.”
Why did team members select this project and what have they been up to?
Team members agree that they love where they live and when they see litter, it dampens their day. This project was also an opportunity to help with the initiatives that are already underway.
The team has been participating in Operation Clean Sweep events and is excited about the progress they’ve seen on those days: it’s satisfying to see the difference that just a few hours of picking up litter can make.
But these questions remain: How can we help more and take that further? What can businesses do to limit trash? How can we engage the next generation? The team is focusing on advocacy and education, legislation, and civic engagement as they develop a long-term strategy. Ultimately, the team would like to “start changing culture of how people live in neighborhoods, so that when they see litter, it’s not the norm.”
Stay tuned to learn more about NBClean and the other LSC projects throughout the rest of this year. The teams will be presenting their work during their last program day on Monday, September 18. Look for more details about the presentations as the date approaches. And if your organization is interested in submitting a community project for future consideration, contact Jennifer Downing. RFPs for 2018 projects will be due later this fall.
LSC’s NBClean Team: Christina Rebello, Community Boating; Mike McCarthy, UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center; Jessica DeMello, Southern Mass Credit Union; Heather Heffernan, Sylvia Group; Josh Amaral, PACE, Inc.; and Deven Tillman, New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.