Southside youth take leadership role in Aurora cleanup

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

AURORA — In an area heavily impacted by Hurricane Florence, recovery in Aurora has been an ongoing effort this week. From flooded homes on the north side of town to trees, limbs and debris scattered throughout, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Over the weekend, a group of young men from Southside High School, in partnership with the Eastern Community Care Foundation, the United Aurora Drum Line and St. Peter Baptist Church, stepped up to meet some of those needs.

The Distinguished Men of Purpose, a SHS student group dedicated to fostering professionalism, accountability and respect in its members, took on a leadership role in organizing and executing a community cleanup day on Saturday.

“The members in our group are spread out on the south side of the river from Aurora to Chocowinity,” DMOP advisor Sam Williams said. “After the storm, the guys wanted to get out and help out. At first, it was kind of hard to because some were displaced due to the hurricane. Once we got everybody together, we decided we wanted to go to the Aurora area because it seemed to be the most impacted of the south side communities.”

THE LITTLE THINGS: A team of volunteers rake up leaves and yard litter left behind by Hurricane Florence. (Sam Williams)

With a particular need for help among the elderly population in Aurora, many of whom cannot perform the heavy labor themselves, the group focused its efforts on helping those who need it the most. With a team of 30 volunteers between the groups, the team set to work at 9 a.m. on Saturday after meeting up at S.W. Snowden School.

“We didn’t realize it was that bad in a couple of yards with a few trees down,” Williams said. “That slowed us down some, so we were able to do four yards. We also gave out cleaning supplies to help those that needed help in cleaning up inside their houses.”

Williams said that a number of houses on their list for the day already had friends and family members working to clean up their yards. In addition to 25 buckets of cleaning supplies, the group also had two pallets of water donated from Walmart of Washington and other supplies donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement.

“All this was planned within 40 hours,” Williams said.

As for those the group helped, Williams said they were met with gratitude from the community. Aurora Mayor Clif Williams likewise shared his gratitude for the group’s efforts.

“I’m glad they came down and were able to help people in the community,” Mayor Williams said. “I appreciate these young people helping out the town.”