Hundreds of volunteers at "Graffiti Be Gone" cleanup

Hundreds of volunteers at "Graffiti Be Gone" cleanup
YAKIMA, Wash. -- "To help Yakima," said Layla.

That's why all these people - including little Layla - came out to the Graffiti Be Gone cleanup.

Armed with paint rollers and trash bags, community members took to neighborhoods in need of some care. They headed out in groups: each assigned a different task, all with the same goal.

"I want to take care of my city, and so if there's garbage on the streets or other things that need to be taken care of, we want to be out taking care of it,” said volunteer Jacob Edler.

Graffiti was wiped out. Trash picked up. And smiles all around.

"It makes me feel good that I'm helping out in the community," said volunteer Angela Gavin.

Volunteers cleaned up alleyways and neighborhoods spanning from Lincoln to Fruitvale and 6th Avenue to 16th Avenue

"We were pleasantly surprised. We had somewhere between 400 to 500 people,” said Dave Hanson, president of Safe Yakima Valley.

With that amount of people, lots of work got done. The city had to transport trash to the dump because their four dumpsters were quickly filled.

"We had a very successful event. There's no more graffiti in this area," said Hanson.

That is a success. But the city and Safe Yakima Valley want to expand their efforts even further. One thing they are focused on is you.

"It's more important to get people involved in helping clean up the city, because that way they take pride in the town," said Orville Otto, senior program supervisor of Yakima’s Office of Neighborhood Development.

Layla's mom understands that. She used the cleanup as a way to teach her daughter some important lessons.

"She knows how to respect things and how to be a productive member of the community," said Nikki McGuire.

Yakima can always use more active community members like little Layla.