ASEZ volunteers removing debris from Roberto Clemente Park in Paterson, NJ.

ASEZ Cleanup at Roberto Clemente Park

Student Volunteers Continue Their "Reduce Crime Together" Initiative in New Jersey

ASEZ, the World Mission Society Church of God’s worldwide university student volunteer group, hosted yet another cleanup. This time, on Sunday, March 24, the university students of New Jersey beautified Roberto Clemente Park. The park in Paterson, NJ is named after the first Caribbean-born Hall of Fame baseball player, Roberto Clemente—and for good reason. He’s not only remembered for his baseball talents, but also for his humanitarianism in the Caribbean and Central America. Thus, it’s only fitting that ASEZ spruced up the park with the goal of human happiness and safety in mind for the community of Paterson.

Many of the ASEZ volunteers who participated are students at Passaic County Community College. They came together to carry out the Roberto Clemente Park cleanup as part of their “Reduce Crime Together” campaign. Students from Eastside High School JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) also joined ASEZ in the effort. Additionally, the local Paterson Green Team came to give a helping hand as well. In total, more than 150 volunteers participated in the cleanup. Mayor Andre Sayegh of Paterson attended the cleanup event, and had nothing but positive things to say.

Community Leaders and Residents React

"The way I view it is, this is more than just cleaning up on one day. It’s about inspiring others to get involved," said Mayor Andre Sayegh of Paterson, NJ. “ASEZ, we are profoundly grateful for the fact that you came out here today. Like I stated in the past, let’s make this a long-standing collaboration between your organization and this city."

Over 150 volunteers carried out at cleanup as part of ASEZ's Reduce Crime Together initiative.

“It's a huge deal for the community to see young people get involved," said Orlando Cruz, District Manager at Downtown Paterson Special Improvement District. "You guys are a great example for the town of Paterson.”

“This is so refreshing to see young people get together and work hard to beautify the town," said Martha Arencibia, a Paterson Resident for 49 years. "You guys are all amazing. We appreciate it.”

ASEZ volunteers painting a railing at Roberto Clemente Park.

Reducing Crime One Step at a Time

ASEZ, which stands for Save the Earth from A to Z, has taken on the initiative to reduce crime through volunteerism. As the broken window theory suggests, visible signs of crime lead to more crime. So by cleaning up visible signs of crime, ASEZ hopes to reduce it all the more. One may think this is a tall order. However, it’s through the little things, such as picking up litter and removing graffiti, that change can occur. ASEZ believes that a difference can be made, not just locally, but nationally and internationally too.

Furthermore, what’s important to note is the heart and mind volunteers embody to make this movement possible. Every ASEZ member strives to volunteer with the love of a mother, putting the characteristics of consideration and benevolence into practice. This is the persona that makes ASEZ cleanups so special, grabbing the attention of local officials and residents alike.

ASEZ volunteers painting over decrepit stairs of a gazebo at Roberto Clemente Park.

Cleaning Up Roberto Clemente Park with a Mother’s Heart

On the day of the cleanup, ASEZ volunteers met together in the morning to make a plan to beautify the park and paint over areas vandalized with graffiti. Yet, before the start of the cleanup, ASEZ team leaders encouraged the volunteers with a little pep talk. They reminded them to work with a mother’s heart, so to create a safer and happier public space. Furthermore, some of the volunteers grew up in the area, making the cleanup even more meaningful.

By the end of the day, ASEZ collected nearly 500 bags of trash, removed graffiti, and painted benches and an entire gazebo. Unity undoubtedly became the key to such a successful cleanup. Moreover, an underlying message became even more apparent. It’s that the youth and young adults can ignite the spark behind a future of social stability and less crime. Interested in learning more about ASEZ or how to volunteer? Shoot us a message through our contact form.

Group photo of 150 volunteers after the ASEZ cleanup at Roberto Clemente Park.

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