ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Keep Alachua County Beautiful is putting high school students at the forefront of community cleanup efforts. The nonprofit organization was awarded the $10,000 Keep America Beautiful MLK Jr. Neighborhood Building Grant, which is designed to help local organizations beautify and improve their communities. The cleanups will focus on improving the MLK corridor adjacent to NW 13th St./U.S. Highway 441 in Gainesville and the city of Alachua.

KACB was one of 11 projects awarded nationally. The proposed program will employ 10-12 high school students to lead cleanup projects involving their peers. The program is designed to help high school students meet their community service requirements while also building an appreciation for the natural environment. Team leaders are responsible for recruiting peers, classmates, family members, associates, etc. to join the cleanup.

Each week, student team leaders will work with peers for three hours on a scheduled cleanup. The job requires another two hours dedicated to recruiting volunteers, planning logistics, and receiving job training. Staff members from KACB will collaborate with the team leaders and provide supervision and mentoring.

KACB University of Florida student staff members will serve as supervisors and mentors to the high-school-aged team leaders. These staff members come from all over Florida and have diverse backgrounds, and will share their experiences and knowledge with the local students to build a greater sense of community between “town and gown.”

KACB is excited to engage the youth, create job opportunities, and beautify Alachua County. “This grant will allow us to provide mentorship and job training to our youth, while also making a positive impact on the environment,” said Executive Director Gina Hawkins. “It's a win-win situation for everyone." For more information about Keep Alachua County Beautiful or to apply for a position with the program, please visit www.kacb.org.

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