On Saturday, April 18, more than 50 youth from Seattle, Tukwila and Renton came together for a community cleanup of Rainier Beach High School in honor of Charles Chappelle. Chappelle was a homeless man who lived behind the high school and dedicated himself to keeping Rainier Beach clean for more than 15 years. Students enjoyed talking with him, and he taught them the importance of taking care of their surroundings. 206 Forward – Youth Advocates of Seattle (206 Forward), a Seattle Parks and Recreation Citywide Teen and Young Adult club, hosted the event.
Young people started the cleanup project by gathering around the memorial site of Charles Chappelle. Alrick Hollingsworth, a member of 206 Forward and a longtime friend of Chappelle, shared how Chappelle was dedicated to keeping Rainier Beach clean and was an inspiration and friend to many. While some might use the word homeless to describe Chappelle, Alrick said that “Charles was not homeless because this was his home.” Chappelle died due to hypothermia in December 2014, but his legacy lives on.
The youth collected more than 10 bags of litter and assembled more than 300 food and hygiene baskets that will be distributed to people in need through World Vision.
The teens ended the day by sharing what they gained from the experience. Many reflected on that fact that one man’s actions were able to affect an entire community and that they too have the ability to create positive change.
Many thanks to Twinny Alipio, Justin Gabriel, Alrick Hollingsworth and Henok Woldu and Pia Lozano from 206 Forward – Youth Advocates of Seattle for creating and organizing the event. A big thank you to the community partners that supported the event, especially to Brian Boyd from World Vision, Nate Robinson from the city of Tukwila, Tom Puthoff from the city of Renton and Charles Humphrie, Nicole Franklin and Ron Mirabueno from Seattle Parks and Recreation.