Fight Blight Team employs 100 youth this summer

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A team created by the Shelby County Mayor is working to provide summer jobs and simultaneously make a difference in area neighborhoods.

Mayor Mark Luttrell's Fight Blight Team is made up of 100 young people who want to make Shelby County the cleanest in the country.

"It feels good. It's a win-win situation. You're giving something and your getting something in return," Brainard Clark said.

Clark joined 99 other young adults at Shelby Farms on Friday to kick off the second year of the initiative.

The Fight Blight Team will break up into smaller groups and fan out across the county to pick up roadside litter and help with other neighborhood beautification projects.

The team members are all between 14 and 20 years old. They earn up to $12 per hour for their service.

"This is my first summer job, and I feel like it's a great opportunity to help with the community," Keviena Pain said.

As part of their welcome, youth were introduced to tips on money management.

Last year, the Fight Blight Team collected more than 6,800 bags of trash, weighing in at around 102,000 pounds.

"It was remarkable and you could actually see it with your eyes how a load of trash was right there then it's gone, and it's amazing to see the evolution," Clark said.

Luttrell said this year's blight team budget is close to $250,000, an investment he says will yield a community return.

"We put a little bit more into it this year than we have in past years, because we realize how successful the program was and the effort that was made last year, so we're trying to ramp it up a little bit," Luttrell said.

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