Why aren’t people in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods in getting out and cleaning up their streets like they did back in the day?
Signed, Just Too Messy
Dear Just Too Messy:
Where do I even start? I too, am quite flummoxed about the amount of trash that can be found on the streets of Philadelphia each day. Sometimes, the trash can is right next to the trash that is on the ground. It is horrifying to watch adults roll the windows down from their cars and throw whole bags of trash out as they are driving!
I fail to understand the psyche and the reasoning behind this kind of behavior, especially when it is the same community that they live in. I have even seen people who walk out of their houses, and step right past the trash that is sitting in front of their driveways.
The Mayor of Philadelphia went so far as to have a beautified city contest. The goal was to encourage people to beautify their blocks to win prizes and grant money for more work to be done. Trash trucks are sweeping the streets — at least the main arteries, but beyond that, I have no idea what else we can do. There are public service announcements made to no avail. What I have found,though, is that when one person begins to clean up their part of the block, it encourages others to do the same. I have also noticed that having a block captain helps immensely.
Aside from all that I have already mentioned, I always encourage families to teach the children how to pick up garbage and how not to litter, because quite frankly these behaviors all start at home. To be fair to Philadelphians, though, there has been instances of serious dumping done in our streets by people who live elsewhere. It is annoying for residents to awaken on a previously clean block, only to find that 25 tires were dumped the night before on their block while they slept. Sometimes bags of trash are just randomly left on the side of the road in a neighborhood. That action and behavior must be reported to the block captains and to the city by calling 311. It will take all of us to make and keep Philadelphia clean, so we just cannot stop trying.
We say “it takes a village” but why aren’t more folks that interact with our children reaching out to our children during this pandemic? Our kids are not ok with this.
Signed, We Need The Village
Dear We Need The Village:
When this pandemic first began, the thoughts I believe many parents had was that the children would be out of school for a few weeks, and then school would resume. What many parents opted to do at that point, was to not tell their children how serious this pandemic actually was, while trying to figure out what the next steps would be to keep them all safe and sound.
When it became clear as time went on that this pandemic was not ending anytime soon, I believe many of those same parents were busy working on their own mental health because they lost their jobs, could not afford to pay the bills, and many were worried about food shortages.
In the meantime, the young people, especially the teenagers, started to have and showed signs of distress because there were all of these unanswered questions and they felt they had to figure it out on their own. I have spoken to many who believed the adults were just as confused as they were, and so they speak amongst themselves about what their next step should be in terms of online classes, graduation, and where should they go their first year of college, etc.
I would encourage parents now, if they have not already begun to do so, to speak to their children frankly about what is truly going on in the country, and not leave them to try to figure it out on their own through only what they hear in the news. I would also suggest seeking a mental health provider should the need arise. The longer that this coronavirus quarantine continues, the more likely it is that children and adults alike will need counseling.
Find a small cadre of parents that you can talk to — ask them what they have been doing, how have they been dealing with this to their children if at all, and ask them if they would like to start a small support group with you so that you can help your children in any way possible. In the meantime, check with your own children and see how they are dealing with what is happening around them. Also, ask them what their friends are saying and if anything is alerting to you. Figure out how to make their parents aware — that is how the village concept begins to work.
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