Niles student organizes community clean-up day

Published 10:36 am Monday, April 22, 2024

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NILES — A Niles neighborhood is looking new and improved thanks to the efforts of a local high school student.

Clair Shadix, a Niles High School senior, organized a community clean-up day on Saturday to bring the community together and promote good in the city. Starting at the Bond Street Boat Launch, approximately 50 students, teachers and community members worked their way through downtown Niles to clean up trash. 

The event is the result of Shadix’s capstone project for her leadership class’ capstone project.

“I was tasked with trying to do something that impacts the community,” she said. “I thought this was a good way to bring the community together and do something for the greater good and the environment.”

Shadix said she was inspired to pursue a clean-up project after participating in Berrien County’s Adopt A Road program. She reached out to community Facebook pages to help identify the areas in most need of cleanup, with most answers being the Bond Street area.

“My family and I would go down there during the height of COVID,” she said. “It wasn’t always the cleanest. The boat launch is the central location of paths in the area.”

To get the word out, Shadix created a Facebook event page and recruited volunteers. She said Pizza Transit offered to donate pizzas to volunteers for clean-up day.

“The response has been very positive,” she said. “I feel it has reached a lot more people than expected.” 

As Shadix’s senior year comes to a close in the coming weeks, she is proud of a project she hopes will inspires other community members to make a difference in the community.

“It means a lot to me personally because I’ve put in months and months of work into this,” she said. “I hope it leaves an impact on not just the community but the school as well. I hope it inspires students to do something outside of their comfort zone.