Little Lights Urban Ministries

Clean Green in HillRag Magazine August-2014

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E very two weeks during the growing season, the sound of mowers and leaf blowers fills the air in Potomac Gardens as a uniformed landscape crew makes its way through the grounds. The men maintaining these grounds are called the Clean Green Team, and most of them have lived in Potomac Gardens since they were kids. Now they are paid to care for the landscape where most of the residents know them and their families. Not only that, but some of the landscapes they now maintain were recently carved out of concrete with help from Clean Green Team personnel. Everybody Wins Since the mid-1990s, The Little Lights Urban Ministries (http://www.littlelights.org/ ) has offered faith-based servic- es to over one hundred children from the Potomac Gar- dens Public Housing Complex and the surrounding neigh- borhood. It is managed by husband and wife team Steve and Mary Park with the help of about 30 other full and part-time staff. The Clean Green Team is a new social enterprise of Little Lights, and has about ten members. The D.C. Hous- ing Authority, which owns Potomac Gardens, supports the landscape maintenance through an arrangement with Lit- tle Lights Ministries. In exchange, Little Lights organizes training, purchases and maintains landscape equipment, and manages the staff and their schedule. Clean Green Team Lights Up Potomac Gardens Article and photos by Cheryl Corson, RLA, ASLA Kids playing ball in the new courtyard August 2014 H 119 {home & garden} Clean Green Team, July 2014: Le , Lawrence Dozier, Clarence Campbell, Rubin Davis. Back middle: Cur s Bates, Gary Sams, Henry Dent, Antonio Smith Every two weeks, the Clean Green Team spends two days maintain- ing the grounds at Potomac Gardens and another two days maintaining the grounds of Hopkins Plaza, a nearby public housing development. They mow, trim, blow, weed, water, prune, and mulch. The crew sports uni- forms, steel-toed boots, hats, safety goggles, gloves and ear protection. They get a lot of compliments on their work from residents, who are neighbors, friends, and family members. A Poolesville, Maryland, landscape contractor, D & A Dunlevy (http:// www.dadunlevy.com ), has taken the Clean Green Team under their wing, travelling down to Potomac Gardens every two weeks to hold team meet- ings and provide training. Angie Dunlevy, company co-founder, was a Little Lights volunteer about seven years ago. This relationship led to the mentor- ing role now played by Dave Dunlevy and his son Blake. They have taught the Green Team men the basics of landscape maintenance, have introduced them to safe chain saw operation, and even organized a field trip where they were given the opportunity to climb trees using ropes and harnesses. "I liked being up there," says Clean Green Team member Clarence Campbell,

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