Firecrackers! Bicycles! New clothes!
These were just a few of the wonders that the grinning boys pushing brooms along Benning Road SE said they imagined the extra money could buy.
"I can buy stuff my mother won't buy -- a bicycle, maybe, or some new clothes," dreamed Kevin Robbins, 11.
"I want to make some money!" said Andre Green, 12.
But there were other considerations for the youths as they began a six-week neighborhood clean-up campaign funded by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7E in Southeast Washington.
Green, for instance, said he would "rather live in a clean neighborhood than a junky neighborhood."
Ronald Brookman, 11, echoed those sentiments. "Our neighborhood is always dirty and everyone is always complaining. I think it might help," he said of the clean-up campaign.
Ronald brookman, 11, echoed those sentiments. "Our neighborhood is always dirty and everyone is always complaining. I think it might help," he said of the clean-up campaign.
With these thoughts in mind, the youths leaned into the brooms and pushed the litter with a determination that furrowed their brows and popped up lean muscles their brows and popped up leaned muscles.
They were working many of them for the first time, as ANC 7E kicked off its Neighborhood Summer Conservation Work Program at the front door of Ward 7 council member Willie J. Hardy. Total funding for the project $1,472, will be used to pay salaries and purchase supplies.
Joined by relatives of the youths and Junetta Banksm the ANC chairwoman of single-member district 7E-9, Hardy greeted the 18 boys working in the program.
"I guess I'm going to be the recipient of some services," smiled Hardy. She said she believed the project would increase community pride and encourage youthful litterers to think twice about dumping trash on the sidewalk.
Most importantly, she said, it will employ youngsters who want to work,
"I think works is a right and not a privilege," said Hardy. It becomes a privilege, however, when work programs set family income limits as the main criteria for employment, she said.
Referring to the practice as "discriminating," Hardy said, "I think [all] youngsters want to work, especially if they're doing something in their own community."
Banks, the organizer of the project, said she selected the 18 youths with the help of neighbors involved with the ANC.
"We tried to get the kids that were unemployed and seemed to be willing to work," Banks said.
She said the youths will work eight hours a week and earn $14 a week. The clean-up effort, which Banks said is supported by the city sanitation department, will encompass the are off Benning Road, bounded by 46th, 51st and G streets, Hillside and Hilltop Terraces and 46th Place and Hanna Place
Two youth leaders, Vernon McCoy, 19, and Victor Wynn, 21, will supervise the work crews. Both Wynn and McCoy said they also have other summer jobs. The extra funds will be used to supplement their earnings, which will pay for college expenses, they said.
In addition, two adult volunteers, Frank V. McCoy and George E. Kelly, will help the youths cultivate flower and vegetable gardens in McCoy's backyard. McCoy said everything produced in the gardens will go to the boys.
If the program is successful, Banks said it will be expanded next year.
As the youth pushed their brooms down the street, relatives stood on the sidelines with Hardy watching.
"We hope to teach youth to be more responsible and to take more pride in their neighborhood," said Octavia James , the grandmother of one of the boys, Philander Jennings, 12.
"But the project won't be confined to the youths alone, James said.
"I'm hoping to get more parents involved," she said. "Then they will see what the ANC's have to offer." CAPTION: Picture 1, Youths work near Benning Road SE in a community cleanup effort. By Joel Richardson - The Washington Post; Picture 2, Junetta Banks, Octavia James, Willie J. Hardy and Leon Wolford, 12, participate in the neighborhood cleanup. By Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post.