SOLEDAD — About a dozen teens from Soledad and Salinas showed up from Safe Teens Empowerment Project to clean up Peverini Park last Saturday.
The group has rotating membership, and the current members just formed via online collaboration during the Covid-19 pandemic, making the June 20 cleanup their first outing together.
“Today we’re cleaning up the park to make sure the kids and everybody has a safe environment to be around,” said Teresa Alvarez, a student youth leader.
The teens picked up pieces of litter and cigarette butts, as there was a low amount of trash in the park that day.
The group chose Peverini as its first outing due to the park’s size. Similarly, the group has historically cleaned Natividad Creek Park in Salinas due to its size leading to it being highly polluted.
“We decided to do this park after speaking with the Soledad youth,” said Reyna Alcala, the youth coordinator for Sun Street Centers, who supervised the teens as they fanned out with bags to pick up what they found.
While Soledad was the first area to be selected for a park cleanup by the group, Alcala said other parks, including those in South Monterey County, might be up for selection in the future.
The group has been around for almost 25 years, according to Alcala, with membership coming from throughout the county. Currently, there are three groups countywide, one each in Soledad, Salinas and Seaside.
Sun Street Centers is looking into forming a group in King City, Alcala said.
“Now that they’re able to meet via the virtual platform, they’re a more united and unified group with all the cities,” Alcala said about the shift in focus made possible by technology.
Those interested in joining can contact Alcala at [email protected] or by calling 831-753-5150.