Help Your Home, Your Akron

By Cindy Pantea, Keep Akron Beautiful Staff

summit lake debris cuam2015We gotta talk trash

It was more than 35 years ago that former Akron Mayor Roy Ray and his former Special Assistant, now KAB Emeritus Board Member, Vince Lobello, helped kick off what bloomed into the Keep Akron Beautiful agency, under the direction of first Executive Director Judith Isroff.

Why? Mainly because the garbage and dumping in Akron was out of control. The pictures can still be accessed through The Akron Beacon Journal archives.

Never again! It’s unhealthy for you and our hometown, which is why the Keep Akron Beautiful litter crew continues to pick up debris year round — in order to help keep it from accumulating. It’s so important to us.

Want to know how important? Want to know exactly how we feel?…

Chad Pregracke Passion

Meet Chad Pregracke, who grew up along the Mississippi River and noticed the accumulation of trash in and around the river he loved, played and worked as he grew into early adulthood. So, he called government agencies to notify them of the dumping, trash and neglect affecting the natural water sources around his home.

Nothing was done.

So, he decided if no one else will clean up these waters, he would, but it was a bigger job than he expected. He then went on a mission to enlist more help from volunteers and find bigger vessels, in order to complete his self-promise.

Because of his resolve, willingness to take on the responsibility and cleanup successes, he was named CNN Hero of the Year in 2013. See a look at this amazing person in the piece here via CNN on YouTube:

As you can see from the video clip, Chad Pregracke’s goals and passion turned into his life’s work, and his determination is an inspiration.

Chad’s story is one that relates so well to the Keep Akron Beautiful vision, too!

Clean UP Akron Month

volunteers clean up akron After the snow completely melts, and we are able to get into some of the nooks and crannies around town, we all begin to observe what has been hidden under the snow and the leaves. We begin to notice that some people have been neglecting our great city.

As such, Keep Akron Beautiful needs your help during our month-long spring cleaning event called Clean Up Akron Month, which coincides with Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup.

Not only will you be beautifying an area of your city, you will come from the experience with a renewed awareness. This will make you want to do right in caring for your health through the health of your environment by taking the time to:

  • Find a trash can or recycling bin for your trash or recycling
  • Secure your lids on garbage day
  • Encourage your friends and family to dispose and recycle properly
  • Use the Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) Recycling Center through ReWorks for tires and other items
  • Explore ways of repurposing items before disposing
  • Take advantage of the DUMP by Summit County Public Health for unused medications
  • Do regular cleanups in your neighborhood on daily walks
  • Pick up and throw away a piece of trash that found its way into parks and other public areas
  • Call Akron Police at 330-375-2181 if you see a dumping in progress
  • Call City of Akron Customer Service at 330-375-2311 if you see dumping on private property
  • Call Keep Akron Beautiful at 330-375-2116 if you see dumping on public land

Who knows…you may even find a new passion from the feeling of pride you get from making your city a better, cleaner place to live.

Register for #CUAM17

So, won’t you, your family, and/or your friends register for Clean Up Akron Month today! Registration process:

  • Register your team here: Make sure you receive a confirmation. Then print and distribute the waivers to your team from the registration packet that can be downloaded from our homepage at Waivers need to be filled out before supplies are picked up during supply distribution week.
  • Or, you can call the office at 330.375.2116 and give us your address and we’ll mail the registration packet to you so you can fill out the forms to register (mail in or drop by as soon as you’ve filled the forms out). Waivers need to be filled out before supplies are picked up during supply distribution week.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about Chad, his agency, and even how to purchase his book, “From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers,” visit his agency website: Living Lands & Waters. Look for his cleanup crusade along the Ohio River!


Don’t miss out on your chance to be part of Clean Up Akron Month

 By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

A large group cleaning event during Clean Up Akron Month 2013

5,282 volunteers participated in last year’s Clean Up Akron Month, and whether you were one of them or not, now is your chance to be part of the second annual Clean Up Akron Month! Keep Akron Beautiful has been picking up litter and illegal dumping each spring for 33 years through Clean Up Akron Week/ Great American Cleanup. For the second year in a row, Keep Akron Beautiful is responding to the needs of the citizens in Akron and expanding our cleanup to a month-long event. Summit County residents can still register online or by calling. There will be free admission zoo passes for those who register early. Don’t miss out on this great community service opportunity where all volunteers receive free clean up supplies and trash disposal.

The first 1,000 registered volunteers will receive free admission to the Akron Zoological Park on Saturday, May 3, for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic. The picnic is a result of the generosity of the following local sponsorship’s: Acme Fresh Markets, Akron Zoological Park, City of Akron, D-A Specialty Co. Inc., Eat’n Park, GOJO Industries, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., House of LaRose, Junior League of Akron, Keep Akron Beautiful Board of Directors, Little Debbie Snacks, Sandra Smith, Schwebel’s Bakery, Shearer’s Branded Snacks, Sully’s Party Rental, Pepsi-Cola, The University of Akron, The Volunteer Center of Summit County, Waste Management of Ohio.

In 2013, Keep Akron Beautiful recruited close to 5,000 volunteers to clean 112 public sites and remove 10.1 tons of litter! We are proud that we can express our gratitude with an appreciation picnic for the volunteers at the Akron Zoological Park on the first Saturday in May.

Last year’s Great American Cleanup resulted in over 4 million volunteers in more than 20,000 communities nationwide. These volunteers built more vibrant communities across America, which is why many of America’s leading companies have become national sponsors.

“We serve as a powerful voice and solution provider for communities looking to unlock their potential,” said Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “During the Great American Cleanup, our volunteers’ work returns on average $175 million in measurable benefits annually across the communities we serve.  It’s clear that through our actions and impact, we help create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound.”

To register for a cleanup site call 330-375-2116 or register online at Registrations will be accepted until May 1, 2014.


Clean Up Akron Month off to an AWESOME start!

Did you notice it’s looking a little cleaner around Akron?
We’d like to think it’s thanks to all the volunteers who have helped Clean Up Akron Month get off to a fantastic start!
We’ve had groups going out each weekend to clean up sites like Alexander Park, Hope Academy University, Perimiter of House of the Lord, Davenport  Park, Summit Lake, Goodyear Boulevard, Glenwood Triangle Park, Wilbeth Arlington Park, East South Street, Prentiss Park, Patterson Park, Frederick Boulevard, the Kenmore area along the Towpath, Goodyear Metro Park, Youth Build Street, Leeser Park, Lane Field and Lawton Street Community Center.

St. Vincent-St. Mary Baseball team took on the challenge of cleaning up the North Street area near their school on April 2. These boys really put in a team effort to clean and their hard work payed off! The Team picked up over 70 bags of trash!Clean Up Akron Month Off to an AMAZING Start!

Here’s the crew from Goodyear cleaning up around Summit Lake. Employees of Goodyear enlisted the  help of their family and friends (even the four legged ones!).Clean Up Akron Month Off to an AMAZING Start!

We can’t say how much we appreciate all our volunteers! There are more clean up scheduled and we’re looking forward to seeing the results!

If you have any photos of your group during CUAM, please send them our way. We’d love to share your story and congratulate your group for all the hard work!