AOPPYC-Led Community Cleanup Bags 2,500 Gallons of Trash

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


Continuing its efforts to nurture environmental stewardship, the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council (AOPPYC) hosted a Community-wide cleanup event on Feb. 19 and 27. “Spread the Love” invited families and youth in almost every District to help clean and care for the land. The cleanup gathered more than 2,500 gallons of trash over two weekends.


On Feb. 19, cleanups were held in Districts 1, 4, 6 and 7, and on Feb 27, a cleanup was held in District 3. With the support of the AOPPYC advisors, every site had cleaning supplies, PPE and health screening materials for everyone. Safety was vital, as every location was free from high-speed traffic.


“These events are important because we’re taking care of our land now and for future generations to come,” said Sineca Jackson, AOPPYC president. “I feel that more youth should be involved with these events because this land will be here long after we’re gone, so taking care of it will create a cleaner and safer Community.”


These events focused on cleaning the Community, but many found it rewarding and mentioned how these initiatives help build character. Some also felt a deeper appreciation for the Community’s lands and said it would discourage people from littering and dumping. 


The District 7 cleanup brought out the Terrazas family to help clean and enjoy the cool morning weather.  The family said events like this are helpful for the Community to create a healthier environment. They hope more cleanups occur with more youth involved so they can have productive interactions with each other, especially after COVID-19 restrictions loosen.


Seven members of Cesar Chavez High School’s Native American Student Council assisted the cleanup in District 6. “Today was fun; we worked as a team, and I think it’s a good thing for us all to come together for,” said senior student Rochelle Delowe.


Before the pandemic, the AOPPYC held Community cleanups regularly. With Community guidelines allowing for safe in-person gatherings, the AOPPYC looks to plan more clean-up events with families.