Monroe teen creates organization to clean up city
T.E.A.M. Monroe cleans up Forsythe boat ramp area on Saturday
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Braden Winterman is starting high school this month, but before his first class, he’s already started a group to address litter in his city.
Two years ago, Winterman says he founded Today Environmental Awareness Matters in Monroe as a Robert E. Lee Jr. High student. On Saturday, around 20 volunteers on T.E.A.M. Monroe cleaned up the Forsythe boat ramp area as part of that mission.
“He’s noticed that the river is dirty and needed a cleanup, so he came out here,” says Kiersten Winterman, Braden’s sister. “Yesterday, he was riding his bike out here and he noticed there were lawnmowers going over and shredding up all the trash.”
“It’s always dirty. It always needs cleaning,” Braden says. “So, I thought that this was the best place to start. I want to be that person that cares, that sparks care in other people just to get our city on the same level of cleanliness as any other city out there.”
Braden also received a helping hand from Ouachita Green through supplies and support.
Director Stuart Hodnett says they’re proud to see the younger people like Braden pick up the responsibility to keep their community clean.
“To be really passionate about picking up litter and to see people that have a heart for picking up litter and keeping a community clean, that’s a rare thing to see, and we want to help him grow that and help him grow his organization,” Hodnett says.
So far, Braden is spreading that heart and passion to his younger siblings like his brother Robby. “It’s pretty cool that I can actually be here now that I can help him. He’s just been inspiring me to do my stuff at school and try to make a fitness club and Harry Potter Club and stuff like that,” Robby says.
As Braden continues his mission, he’s also looking for more volunteers to join his cause and for everyone to help spread the word.
To learn more about the organization and how you can help, you can follow the T.E.A.M. Monroe Facebook group.
Braden is also working to obtain 501c3 status and has created a GoFundMe to go towards that effort as well as get more supplies.
Hodnett says Ouachita Green is also planning its next cleanup on August 15.
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