Volunteers Further Efforts to Clean Up Kirk Park

This year’s Acts of Kindness Weekend kicked off a sunny Saturday morning with a cleanup of Kirk Park.

Residents from local community organizations such as 100 Black Men, Tomorrow’s Neighborhoods Today, the Syracuse Parks Conservancy and Sunnycrest Parks Association, as well as local youth, donated their time in an act of kindness for the South Side neighborhood Sept. 10 and 11.

Markif Johnson and Ra'shon Isaac pull weeds from the ground during the clean up effort at Kirk Park. -- Photo by Tara Donaldson

The goal: clean up branches, vines and leaves to prevent them from blocking the beauty of Kirk Park in hopes of drawing more park visitors. Volunteers cut, sawed, pulled and raked under the day’s hot sun.

“I feel clean when I clean up, because then the world is clean … even though I’m hot and sweaty,” said Ra’shon Isaac, a 14-year-old Southside Academy Charter School student.

After just a few hours of sweat and toil, the Kirk Avenue entrance to the park near the footbridge, already looked cleaner and more inviting.

As Syracuse remembers 9/11 on its 10th anniversary this weekend, consensus among volunteers as to their reasons for contributing was all about a sense of community.

9/11 is about coming together and A-OK! Weekend follows that trend, said Vincent Love, president of 100 Black Men. “It brings people together for a common good,” he added.

A-OK! Weekend is coordinated by Women Transcending Boundaries (WTB), an interfaith organization developed post 9/11 to bring women in Central New York together. WTB began A-OK! Weekend in 2010 to help recapture the spirit of community felt after 9/11 and to give back in remembrance.

Betsy Wiggins, co-founder of WTB says she is stunned by the amazing turnout for A-OK! events thus far but hopes that the kindness doesn’t end with the weekend.

“We want people to network and build the community and continue these acts of kindness in the future,” she said.