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Southside Community United for Change Summer Litter Patrol by Denise Jackson 1st District Peoria City Council

It’s summer and once again there are groups of young people roaming the streets in Peoria looking for stuff to get into! No, they’re not looking for trouble. They’re doing “good in the hood” and making a big difference. Southside Community United for Change (SCUC) has re-activated its summer Litter Patrol Program. Andrew Lucas from Harrison School is among the participants.

“We just go and clean the community and help other people out,” said Lucas.

In all, there are 63 students who meet at Lincoln Branch Library three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday to pick up litter around the Southside. Lucas said he is also learning new things in the litter patrol program

“It helps you learn about your finances and teaches you a lot of things about life too. People should really put their kids in it,” he added.

There is an educational component in the SCUC Litter Patrol program. On Friday’s students pick up trash for the first hour and spend the second hour attending a financial literacy class hosted by Busey Bank. On the alternate Friday, the Tri-County Urban League hosts a class informing them about the agency’s educational programs, all designed to help students succeed throughout their academic careers.

The litter patrol students are paid $120 every two weeks. The stipends are provided through several sponsors including Peoria native and former NBA player Shaun Livingston. Several local churches have provided transportation for the students to various sites on the Southside to pick up litter.

The response at the orientation held last month was so overwhelming that SCUC created a waiting list. SCUC President Martha Ross said she would like to see the program implemented every summer. Andrew Lucas agreed.

“It’s a very good program. I love the program I would like to come back next year,” said Lucas.

SCUC Summer Litter Patrol began June 20th and continues through the month of July.