Local kids working to keep our roadsides clean

Local kids working to keep our roadsides clean »Play Video
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- At 16 Alyssa Cuevas already knows the meaning of hard work. Five days a week she's out picking up trash on the side of our roads.

"It's tough in the hot sun and having to be on the side of the road with traffic and everything but it's a good experience, I love it," said Alyssa.

Alyssa works for the Ecology Youth Corps. This summer the central Washington division hired about 50 kids ranging in age from 14 to 17. Regional Litter Coordinator Rod Hankinson said more than 400 kids applied.

"This is a very competitive job opportunity for kids in the state of Washington, it's one of the only programs of its kind in the entire country," said Hankinson.

Hankinson says the job helps teach the teens about work ethic and the environment. These kids are a big part of keeping our roads clean.

Last year in Yakima County the group picked up more than one hundred and forty thousand pounds of litter. 14-year-old Bailey Haller is happy to help.

"It's really nice to see all these bags we've picked up and pile them up so we do a lot," said Bailey.

The kids covered more than 500 miles in Yakima County last year. Over the past three years they continue to cover more ground. And pick up more trash, even with budget cuts.

"You have no idea how proud I am of these young folks, their becoming young adults now," said Hankinson.

Alyssa says the job is teaching her responsibility and about giving back to the community. It's something she's glad to be part of.

"It makes me feel good because when I go out and I drive I see how clean it is it makes me feel good because it makes our town look nice for visitors who come in," said Alyssa.

And for those of us who use these roads every day.
The kids make a little over nine dollars an hour. The Central Washington division started clean up on July 1st. Their work will end mid-August.