Ola's Clean Up Crew
Three Polish teenage girls separate trash for Global Youth Service Day

GYSD contest winner

“The best thing about volunteering is feeling that we are doing something meaningful.” These words were said by one of my friends after finishing our work. I wanted my project to have an impact on our planet. My idea was to organize a local trash cleanup next to one of the roads close to farm fields, where people throw garbage out of their cars.

I took big biodegradable trash bags and went there with my friends. Our team was just four people, but it was perfect because everyone could do something. One of us held a bag and the rest picked up the trash. We couldn’t believe how much litter was there, but while we were working next to this busy road, sometimes people slowed down to say kind words and thank us for our work.

We collected five bags of rubbish. When it was time to go home, I had to leave my friends and go only with the trash because my car was full to the top. After that, we separated everything and put it into special recycling bags. Everything took us about three hours, but instead of being tired, in the end, we were very cheerful.

As the second part of my project, I organized a presentation for my school about daily trash separating. I explained why it is so important for our environment. I presented it to three classes and 60 students. I also told them a bit about Earth Day and Global Youth Service Day, which they didn’t know about before.

In my presentation, I showed them what we should put into each container and how the trash is recycled. I created a game about recycling as well, and we played it live together on Zoom. This way, they were listening more closely and actually learned many things.

We still haven’t collected all of the trash from that road. I’m planning to organize an event like this one more time. I hope that after my project people will think twice before they throw garbage out of their cars. There is one more thing that makes me happy. Thanks to this project, my friends and people from school started to be more interested in volunteer work. To summarize, “What you give is what you get.”

—Aleksandra (FLEX, Poland), Virtual Program