For the past decade, staff at Childreach have joined together each spring to take part in the annual 20-minue effort to cleaning up the space around their Maitland Street offices, but also to engage with their neighbours as well.
Geared to London’s business community, the makeover encourages participants to grab some garbage bags and get out in neighbourhoods around London for a 20-minute collection of all that garbage unveiled by the spring’s melting snow.
“We love our neighbourhood and we’re also close to downtown, lots of stores and warehouses and stuff, so it gets pretty dirty. There’s a lot of litter,” said Nadine Reeves, communications and marketing co-ordinator at Childreach. “Some of the stuff we pick up can be dangerous for the families that are coming to visit us . . . drug paraphernalia and such. So, it’s good for safety, it’s good for the environment, it beautifies our neighbourhood.”
In addition to collecting bags of trash, participants in the makeover are encouraged to post a photo on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtags #20MinuteMakeover and #519CleanGreen for a chance to win a pizza lunch provided by Joe Kool’s Restaurant.
Reeves said there are many reasons her office takes part in the makeover.
For one, Childreach staff are often working out in the community, at different programs, and are often isolating themselves from many of their colleagues.
Taking part in the 20-Minute Makeover, Reeves said, is also good for raising the centre’s community visibility and spotlighting the programming that encourages active participation in the neighbourhood while taking care of the environment.
Childreach is an early-years, parenting resource centre that’s been in operation for 40 years.
Environmental awareness hasn’t always been Childreach’s message, but Reeves said it does hit home today.
Reeves said another reason Childreach takes part in the makeover is that it allows staff to get into the community, where they will not only take part in the cleanup effort, engage with their neighbours as well.
Peter Carr understands that connection as approximately 18 staffers at Preferred Insurance Group have been getting behind the makeover for a number of years as well.
Carr, vice-president of sales and marketing, said the company initially got involved in the makeover because it was a great way to get staff involved in the community, help with the tidying up, and to be good neighbour as well.
“It doesn’t take long when everybody gets out. Many hands make light work is how the saying goes,” he said. “If everybody did that, it would be pretty nice around town. I know a lot of businesses, a lot of community pick-ups, but if you go somewhere and see garbage lying around, it doesn’t look nice.”
The litter picked up around Preferred’s Wharncliffe Road South office remains “pretty much constant” year after year.
A lot of the trash blows into the area, gathers around trees and shrubs, but the hope is people see the company’s out there doing the makeover and that it inspires them to do the same.
“We do it because it’s the right thing to do, gets everyone involved, but if we’re setting a good example I see that as a good thing,” Carr said. “I worried (in the beginning) it might not go over so well, going out to pick up trash. But when it’s all done, things look better, we feel better. We go a little beyond our property to do our part, but it’s kind of like a haircut, you feel better when it’s done.”