Hands On Topeka spruces up parks, schools

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A Topeka group is taking spring cleaning to the next level.

It’s the 4th Annual Hands On Topeka event, put on by the United Methodist Church.

Gage Park is just one of nine sites across the city the group tackled Sunday, from raking, to weeding, to planting.

“I just grew up going here and now I enjoy coming here with my baby,” says Elena Sanchez.

Gage Park brings back memories for Sanchez, something she wants to pass on to her daughter.

“She just started walking so we’ll probably be coming here a lot this summer,” Sanchez says. She sees about 150 community members spending their day making her favorite childhood park a better one.

“Just having that automatic look and being able to know that a difference has been made is important to us because we’re bout transforming the world and that’s one way we can do it,” says organizer Rev. Kay Scarbrough with the United Methodist Church.

With more than 800 volunteers, this year is bigger than ever.

“This year we added schools to our list, we partnered with 501 and they have been very cooperative with us and we are so excited to have them as new partners,” Scarbrough says.”

It’s not just about looking nice, either.

“We want to keep it safe for kids so they don’t trip and fall and get hurt” says 11-year-old volunteer Jenna Surface, “We want them to be safe and have fun.”

Young volunteers are learning lessons in the process.

“When i’m not going this, and I see trash, I’m going to still pick it up,” says one 8-year-old volunteer.

In red shirts that are hard to miss, these folks want the rest of Topeka to see that people still care about this city.

“Hopefully they see the dedication that we have coming out today and try to make a difference in some small way, that’s really what it’s all about,” says volunteer Michael Surface.

“This is such a good park to go to,” Sanchez says, “especially with kids and babies and I think it’s important to keep that up and keep that around for our kids.”

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