Planning for Cleanups is underway. Help and expertise are available! Veteran Cleanup Coordinator and maven of the Sunnyside Swap Shop Karen Hery answers a few questions on how to pull together a successful event. Consider attending the Annual Cleanup Coordinator's Meeting on February 13th to learn how to plan a cleanup or improve the one you're already doing. Karen will be sharing her expertise alongside Alicia Polacok from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Details are here.
Over the years Karen has led the Sunnyside Swap and Cleanup channeling her formidable focus and energy into what has become a three day event of Useful Goods Exchange, Cleanup and Swap ending in a Rummage Sale. Working with a great team of volunteers, this weekend of events takes place at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in April and is open to everyone for sharing used items, dropping off stuff to be recycled or disposed of and to seek out great deals at the rummage sale. Karen answers a few key questions below.
Q: What is the most important thing to know to start a cleanup?
A: You can make your cleanup as simple or as complex as you choose. Do what is going to work for you.
Q: What skills must a Cleanup Coordinator possess?
A: You have to be reasonably organized, flexible and have a sense of humor.
Q: You've led the Sunnyside Swap and Cleanup for years now. Share a key strategy that you have learned.
A: You need a good endgame. Have a great team of volunteers to wind up the event. Pre-coordinate with Goodwill or another organization able take a broad range of what is left over.
Q: What are a couple of important elements to remember?
A: Your location is critical. Build a team of five to six core volunteers. Build a crowd of people who will volunteer and participate. Arrange for donated food and drink for the folks who are pitching in. We play music at our event - we create a soundtrack that helps everybody to feel good!
Q: What is the weirdest item ever brought to your Cleanup or Swap?
A: A four foot carpeted climbing structure for cats in the shape of a Martini glass complete with carpeted olive!
Q: This is your last year as the Cleanup Coordinator. What has inspired you and kept you going over the years?
A: I have seen thousands and thousands of objects go through hundreds of hands. Everybody is richer at the end of the weekend.