Cougar community celebrates 4th annual Rock The Block
Over 250 students volunteered throughout the third ward this weekend for the Metropolitan Volunteer Program’s fourth-annual “Rock The Block” community clean up event.
“Last year the event was so successful,” said mathematical finance junior and Director of MVP Chris Pinto. “(Former) Mayor Annise Parker commissioned the first ever Distinguished Community Award and we received the award.”
MVP has teamed up with local non-profit organizations The Forge, Agape Development and the Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance in the annual citywide clean-up effort called Keep Houston Beautiful.
“Our goals are very interrelated,” said Pinto. “Get UH students engaged and active in the community.”
This year, Rock The Block began at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning when students met on campus and checked in with MVP before being bussed off to seven different locations throughout the Third Ward.
“We picked up trash on the side of the road, in yards and around the whole neighborhood,” said supply chain management junior Skyler Singletary. “There were about 30 to 35 volunteers on site at South Union.”
The South Union site is one of the largest illegal dumping grounds in the area and poses an immediate danger to community children as it is across the street from Foster Elementary School.
“A lot of people are scared or have a stigma about the Third Ward,” said hotel and restaurant management sophomore Lauren Morse. “But when you get out in the community and help you’ll see everyone is just a person like you and me and there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s really a great opportunity and fun getting involved and helping people.”
Students at other locations were bussed to the Agape building located at 6401 Calhoun Road where they mowed lawns, picked up trash, tended the community gardens and set up the block party, which was open to all participants and the neighborhood.
Volunteers grilled food for all attendees and provided refreshments, as well as snow cones. There were interactive carnival games for children, a moonwalk for kids to bounce and a basketball goal set up to let everyone shoot around.
Students interested in joining with the already over 1,000 registered members involved with MVP for future volunteer events can visit its website to view and sign up for upcoming opportunities.