The Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting (OVYM) Teen Group Service Trip joined TTF last week for a storm drain marking and clean-up event at the Tacony Creek Park gateway at Rorer Street and Roosevelt Boulevard.
The OVYM teen group of 14 volunteers — 11 high school students and 3 leaders — comes from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky Quaker communities.The group takes part in an annual one-week service trip centering on community-building that alternates between urban and rural settings. Before TTF met up with them, they had already been in the Philadelphia area for a couple of days offering their services to local NGOs such as the Share Food Program. Next year, they will switch back to a more rural focus, as they head off to Costa Rica.
Four groups of volunteers enthusiastically marked storm-drains, handed storm drain tip cards to residents or left the cards on doorsteps, and picked up any trash they saw.
Storm drain markers provide a critical link for the people of Philadelphia. Most people don’t realize that storm drains on the street lead to our local waterways. Food packaging, plastic bags and cigarette butts thrown onto the sidewalk or street ultimately make their way through the storm drain system and into our creeks and rivers. During rainfalls, the polluted water from our streets floods our waterways.
Volunteers wore bright orange safety vests that attracted the attention of local residents who were full of questions and smiles. After hearing what we were doing, many joined us in picking up litter!
After storm drains were marked and bags of trash filled, we all gathered at the gateway to enjoy a much-needed Philadelphia delicacy: soft pretzels! Volunteers relaxed in the shade and shared stories of their work in community-building. Once the pretzels had disappeared, our volunteer visitors took a walk in Tacony Creek Park to learn up close how their work on the streets was so important to protecting the creek.
To the Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting (OVYM) Teen Group Service Trip folks: Thank you from TTF and the people of our Tacony Creek Park neighborhoods!