Beautiful, Clean & Safe is a concentrated effort that aims toward cleaning up Chico as well as uniting its residents.
A group of volunteers met at 9 a.m. on Friday in a downtown parking structure to clean up south campus and downtown. The event lasted until noon.
Michael Medeiros, director of Stairways (a mental health program), started the morning off with a speech about the goals of the event.
The clean-up crew divided into three groups and starting cleaning by the post office at Eighth and Ninth Streets, the transit center and the children’s park near the entry of downtown.
Medeiros told volunteers to explain the event to anyone who asked what they were doing while they picked up trash.
“What we’re really trying to do here is unite the community,” he said. “There’s a huge division with the mentally ill and the homeless that I want to fill with events like these.”
Medeiros said the Beautiful, Clean & Safe program has been a huge success and has gotten a lot of recognition from other organizations in Chico.
Stairways partnered up with DCBA Clean & Safe, Clean-Up Brigade, Chico State and the Chico Police Department for this event.
“We’re pulling everyone together and getting people off of the streets,” he said. “That’s really what this is all about.”
Medeiros is planning to reach out to the Greek community and create competitions between sororities and fraternities that involve helping and uniting the community.
At the end of the school year, the winning chapter will receive a trophy and banner to hang outside of their house.
Among the group of volunteers were 10 members of Gamma Zeta Alpha fraternity.
Eric Jimenez, memeber of Gamma Zeta Alpha, is the housing coordinator of Stairways.
“I’m involved in this because I get the opportunity to help those who are under-served,” he said. “I’m just trying to give back to a community that has given so much to me.”
Melanie Bassett, executive director of DCBA, said that up until three weeks ago, the Beautiful, Clean & Safe program was a lot smaller.
“A few weeks ago we decided to push it out to the whole city of Chico,” Bassett said. “It’s been a great way to unite the city and everyone is really coming together.”
Chico police chief Mike O’Brien and University police chief John Feeney showed up at the event to support and help clean.
“Michael Mederios is a great guy who has a good vision for helping to address homelessness,” Feeney said. “The support that everyone has given is outstanding.”
Events like this are planned every two months. Mederios said he was pleased with the number of volunteers that came out in the morning and hopes the number gets bigger each time.
“Everyone has the same goal, which is to end homelessness,” Mededrios said. “We’re planning to do that and bring people together at the same time.”
Suzy Leamon can be reached at [email protected] or @susanleamon on Twitter.