Teen Lawn Care program running strong in 2nd year

Teen Lawn Care program running strong in 2nd year
July 14
05:30 2016


The Teen Lawn Care program, operated by UNITY Neighborhood Association, is reaching its full stride. The program, which was funded by Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN) for the second consecutive year, is nearing the midway point of its yard-cutting season.

The program received a grant for $5,000 – the same amount granted last year -to continue its operation. Last year only five teenagers were a part of the program because of the capital outlay for equipment. Since now it already has equipment, this year a total of 14 teenagers ages 13-18 from the Bowen Park area have been chosen to participate. The participants must go through a three-hour orientation and safety program before they are allowed to operate the equipment.

Each of the participants is trained to operate a lawnmower, weed-eater, blower and use a rake. Most of them have not previously operated any of the equipment. Dorothy Bonner, president of UNITY, said the teenagers are gaining great hands-on experience.

“We are teaching these teens the value of hard work,” Bonner said. “They are learning so many valuable things, including how to take care of their own lawns. And hopefully, they will learn about managing money.”

The program solicits area residents to allow the Teen Lawn Care program to cut their lawns. In return for their services, they ask for residents to make a $20 donation.

“I’ve been waiting for them to get started again this year,” said Charlie Clemmons, a community resident. “They cut my yard last year and they did a really good job. I told a couple of the young ladies that I wish my granddaughter was here to see them because they are setting a good example in this community.”

Shakara Johnson, who was in the program last year, said she learned a lot last year and is learning more this summer.

“I have enjoyed being in the program,” she said. “I learned a lot about how to use lawn care equipment and it’s also fun to work with other people who are near my age to accomplish things together.”

Bonner said the program is still looking for more yards to cut.

“We would like to expand our program in the future,” she said. “The funds that are donated will allow us to offer more kids an opportunity to participate with us.”

Sam Davis, program supervisor, said he sees how the program is affecting the entire community.

“People are starting to take notice,” he said. “They see positive things happening with our youth and realize that there are some teenagers out here in this community who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and doing work. It is good that these teenagers are putting sweat equity into their community and everyone benefits.”

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