A group of volunteers in Surprise pulled weeds, picked up trash and trimmed bushes and trees Saturday at homes throughout the city.
The Surprise Pride Day Community Cleanup spruced up yards scattered around a dozen different parts of the city with more than 300 volunteers working up a sweat in the warm morning sun for the good of their hometown.
Surprise Councilman John Williams started the event when he came into office about four years ago, he said, just around the time when the community was starting to see homes go into foreclosure.
“Every year it’s kind of grown,” Williams said.
Williams said that the program focuses on houses that have been abandoned by the homeowners, but before the banks take over “just to take away from the blight.”
The cleanup, he said, will not only help other home values in the area, but also act as a deterrent to crime and possibly discourage more abandonment.
Williams and his group of volunteers, many of them school-aged children from the Arizona Hotshots, a basketball team based in Surprise, and their families, tackled three houses in the same cul-de-sac.
“It might not be your mess, but you live here, so you want to help clean it up,” Williams said.
Lauryn Satterwhite actually had fun doing the work because she enjoyed joking around with her friends.
“I don’t like to pick weeds, but I like to do it for the community,” Satterwhite said. “It’s a good experience.”
Councilwoman Sharon Wolcott also joined Williams’ group and said events like this are an opportunity to grow closer to neighbors and the rest of the community.
“Surprise is a young community, so anything we can do to bring people together and get something accomplished is good,” Wolcott said. “Something like this really helps to pull us all together.”