ALTON - If anyone could become inspired to keep their city clean, it was sure present on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Alton. This year's Pride Inc. City-Wide Cleanup had a massive turnout and more youth than ever participated.

Debbie Frakes, president of the Upper Alton Business Association, said she was very proud of the teens for their efforts on the Pride City-Wide Litter Clean-Up Day.

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“For the kids to come out on a Saturday when they could be in bed, that says a lot about them,” Frakes said. “I am very happy to have them and really appreciate their help.”

Natalie Merrill, a vice president of beautification for Pride, Inc., said she thought it was a fantastic community event.

"I love how the kids are getting involved and taking pride in their property," she said. "It is great they are taking pride in their city and and they are the future for our area."

John Meehan, Alton Fifth Ward alderman, said: "It is a wonderful project for the youth to be involved in to help clean up the community where they live.

Tim, who is active in Pride, Inc., said he thought it was wonderful young adults were involved.

"I believe that getting youth involved is what we really need to do as an organization," he said. "We need younger involvement. A lot of our older members have been here a long time and it is good to get younger people involved."

Stella, a senior, said it was a nice day and a good thing to do.

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Madison, also a senior, said it was really a nice day and it helped the community out, so she was proud to be there on Saturday.

Maggie, a senior, said: "I love doing this and it is great to help the community, I have done this a lot this year with NHS."

Mia, another senior, said: "Cleaning up our city very near and dear to me. Where I live it is hard to see the ground because of the trash and it means a lot. I am going to the U of I in the fall after graduation."

Karen Wilson, who has been active in Pride, Inc., for many years, said this was exciting that so many young people participated, which speaks to her heart.

"We like to give the younger generation a bad rap, but these young people are setting an example for other kids," she said. "I give kudos to the leaders of these young people and to the young people."

Pat Stewart, executive director of Pride Inc., said she was very proud of the youth and the different groups and organizations who participated on Saturday.

She also cited Rusty Wheat for his efforts on the day and what he means to beautification in the area. She said he was a big part of the program on Saturday.

“It has turned into something wonderful,” Stewart said. “The youth have really responded. It takes a village to keep a community clean and it is good to see the younger people involved with all the others.”

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