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For the past twelve years, usually on a Tuesday in October, the Irving-based VHA family of companies has given their employees a day off work and has sent them into their respective communities to work with non-profit organizations for a day of service.  This is a nation-wide program, and here in Irving, Keep Irving Beautiful has been proud to partner with VHA, Inc. for the past six years in this endeavor known as “Community Day.”  This year’s project on October 14 involved painting the interior of the first floor at Senter Park Recreation Center.  Fourteen employees of the VHA, Inc. family, which in addition to VHA includes Novation, Provista and aptitude, gave a total of 42 hours of service in making Irving’s original rec center brighter and more inviting to all who visit and enjoy the amenities it has to offer.

“Whenever we partner with VHA, it is always a rewarding experience,” said KIB board member Rachel Moon.  “They are devoted to making a positive impact not just on the hospitals they serve across the country, but also in their own backyard by encouraging employees to give back to the communities where they work, and where many of them live.  Community Day is a great idea that I wish all companies would embrace.  Employee volunteers enjoy getting out of the office and spending time with colleagues in a different activity than their usual routine, and the community is greatly benefitted by their efforts.”

Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our city including government, business, church, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations.  If you are interested in volunteering with KIB, please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.

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Keep Irving Beautiful’s signature cleanup event, the 23rd Annual Trash Bash, was held at T.W. Richardson Grove Park on September 27, a beautiful Saturday morning to be outdoors enjoying the city’s Campion Trails and helping the environment.  A record 619 volunteers participated, giving over 1,800 hours of volunteer service in collecting 2,240 pounds of trash and 860 pounds of recyclables.  Following the event, a hot dog lunch was served, with chips donated by Frito-Lay.  Irving resident and naturalist Jon Halsey has become a much-anticipated feature at KIB cleanups, with his collection and displays of fossils and artifacts collected from the area over many years.  Another familiar face, Barry Allen, also entertained and educated the volunteers with his assortment of snakes. For the third year, the Trash Bash was held on National Public Lands Day, with an estimated 175,000 volunteers engaged in similar projects across the country. 

 

Events like this could not be possible without partnerships, such as those with numerous City of Irving Departments.  The Parks Department reserved the location and provided logistic support, Solid Waste Services provided a roll-off dumpster and weighed the bags collected, and Corporate Communications sent an ICTN crew to video the action and interview the participants.  Employee volunteers from the Code Enforcement, Health and Human Services and Human Resources Departments teamed up to prepare and serve the lunch.  The Mayor’s office also provided an official proclamation declaring September 27 as “Trash Bash Day in Irving.” Sponsors who contributed to the success of the event included VHA, Inc., PlayTri, Oncor, Frito-Lay, AcuGraphics, Fast Signs Las Colinas, and the Rambler and Burb Newspapers.  Items for the prize drawing were generously donated by the Irving Family YMCA, Twin Wells Golf, Glory House, Arnold Brothers Forest Products, Magician Maxwell Blade, and the Trinity River Kayak Company.     

 

Members of North Lake College’s Alpha Zeta Eta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society were very active in recruiting volunteers from North Lake as well as from chapters at other campuses.   They helped with every part of the event, from set up to tear down, by directing traffic, signing in volunteers, passing out supplies and T-shirts, and working in litter crews.  They also came up with the idea of having a canned food drive in conjunction with the cleanup, so volunteers were asked to bring a canned item to the event.  KIB partnered with the Bear Creek Community Church Food Pantry and Sister Sonja Washington to collect 298 non-perishable food items to help feed those in need.

 

KIB Board Member Dr. Yolanda Romero, who also sponsors the North Lake Phi Theta Kappa chapter, volunteered at the event and had this to say.  “We had a great turnout in 2013, but this year is even better.  It’s inspiring to see such diversity among the volunteers, in terms of ages, faiths and backgrounds.  They all joined together in the common cause of keeping our community a clean safe place to live, work and play. The addition of the canned food drive brought another positive element to the event which shows that we care about our people as much as we do about our environment.”

 

Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our city including government, business, church, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations.  If you are interested in volunteering with KIB, or making your activity a “green event,” please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.

 

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Keep Irving Beautiful and the City of Irving Parks Department partnered with the Irving-based Celebration of Life Center as well as affiliated congregations in Dallas – the Center for Spiritual Living, the Little House and HeartSpace – for a cleanup of Trinity View Park on Saturday, September 13.  Volunteers, led by coordinator Nance Elmore of the Irving center, picked up trash and recyclables from around the park, including areas along the tree lines and the small creeks that run through the park.  Because of the recent rains, trash was washed into the lower-lying area, and these volunteers were able to keep it from getting into the nearby Elm Fork of the Trinity River.  The 39 volunteers combined for a total of 118 hours of service, and collected 165 pounds of trash and 113 pounds of recyclable materials.  KIB was assisted by North Lake College Service Learning students, who helped with signing in, distributing supplies such as litter pickers, safety vests, gloves and bags, and weighing materials collected. 

 

“It’s inspiring to see people from different areas of the Metroplex coming to Irving for a morning of fellowship and working together to help make a positive impact in our community environment,” said KIB Board President Scott Wilson.  “We appreciate their efforts very much.  The KIB board and staff always look forward to working with any groups or individuals who are willing to give of their time to make our city more beautiful and litter-free.”

 

Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our city including government, business, faith, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations.  If you are interested in volunteering with KIB, please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.

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Keep Irving Beautiful invites the community to attend the 23rd Annual Trash Bash on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 9 a.m. to noon. The location for this year’s event is T.W. Richardson Grove Park, 333 E. Interstate Highway 635 (LBJ), at the northeast corner of Valley View and I-635. The cleanup is once again being held on National Public Lands Day, and will be one of many similar events occurring across the country that day. The nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands raises awareness of environmental issues like litter, and encourages everyone to lend a hand to make a difference in their community. Volunteers of all ages are invited to participate. KIB will provide supplies such as litter pickers, trash and recycle bags and gloves. Lunch will be provided after the cleanup, as well as music and prize drawings.

 

This Trash Bash will also include a canned food drive to help feed those in our community who are in need.  Each volunteer is asked to bring a canned or other non-perishable food item to the event.  These will be donated to the Bear Creek Community Church Food Pantry at 2700 Finley Road, Irving 75062.

 

Please register at http://www.cityofirving.org/KIB/KIB-2014-trash-bash.asp by September 17, 2014. For more information, call the Keep Irving Beautiful office at (972) 721-2175

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Keep Irving Beautiful (KIB) visited the members and staff of Emma’s House on a warm sunny day in August. To escape the typical Texas summer heat the group met inside to learn about recycling, littering and environmental fun facts.  KIB kicked off the discussion of litter prevention and then followed that up with a video titled “The Wartville Wizard” by Don Madden. The video reinforced the importance of keeping our cities and towns litter-free and beautiful. KIB also brought everyday items like a t-shirt, pullover jacket, cups and even pencils that were made from recycled plastic bottles, old jeans and recycled paper money! In addition to the fantastic and fun question and answer session, Emma’s members were treated to a fruit snack, ice cream and lemonade. To everyone’s delight, KIB mascot Kirby made a special appearance and took time to pose for pictures with the group and individuals.

   KIB Board member Jan Schriefer stated, “This was the second year that KIB has visited Emma’s House and it’s always wonderful experience. Emma’s members are eager to learn and we at KIB appreciate their efforts by participating in the adopt-a-spot program that helps keep our community clean year round.”

  Emma's House is a nonprofit care center. Their mission is to provide after school and non-school services for teens and young adults with disabilities. They specialize in providing community based recreational and educational instruction. They provide functional, vocational and life skills to promote independence and self-sufficiency.  

   Keep Irving Beautiful is an award-winning, grassroots, non-profit leadership organization dedicated to educating community members about litter abatement, recycling and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city.  For information on how you can become involved in volunteering with KIB, please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.

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Keep Irving Beautiful held its annual “Mayor and KIB Proud Partners Awards” reception on Monday, August 11 at the First Baptist Church of Irving.  The 128 attendees enjoyed an appetizer buffet prepared by chef Kristine Sanborn and staff, while listening to the beautiful harp music of Becky Scherschell.  Geoff Sirkel provided technical support and ran a PowerPoint of all the honorees during the reception and ceremony, while TJ Friedel served as event photographer.  Guests were greeted and signed in by volunteers Elouise McMillian, Sandy Franco and Chandler Ude.

The awards ceremony, featuring Cathy Whiteman as Mistress of Ceremonies and Councilman Allan Meagher as the representative of the Mayor’s Office, honored the following “Proud Partners” winners:

  • Youth Leadership Award (individual): Jenny Maique
  • Youth Leadership Award (group):  Alpha Zeta Eta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
  • Educator Award: Christa Slejko, North Lake College
  • Faith Group Award: Chris Carathers, Irving North Christian Church
  • Business and Industry Award: Contech Engineered Solutions
  • Media Award: Deborah Fleck, Dallas Morning News
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Helen Chaplin
  • Civil Servant Award: Chief Victor Conley, Irving Fire Department
  • Green Government Award: Dr. Elba Garcia
  • KIB Hometown Award: Monica Ellington
  • KIB Hometown Award:  Allan Meagher 

 

In addition to the Proud Partner winners, recipients of the 2014 Keep Texas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful Awards were also recognized.  In the KAB National Awards, VHA, Inc. was honored with a Distinguished Service Citation in the Business and Industry Category.   Keep Texas Beautiful Awards winners included Emma's House, which received the Citation of Merit in the Civic Organization Program Category,  the City of Irving Housing and Human Services Department, which won Honorable Mention in the Government Category, and Jim Scrivner, Energy Manager of the Irving ISD, who won First Place in the Sadie Ray Graff Educator Awards, Administrator Category.  KIB Coordinator Rick Hose gave special awards of recognition to Code Enforcement Manager Mike Edwards and Code Officer Lukas Kratochvil for their many hours of service at special events.

KIB Volunteer Recognition Committee chair and hostess for the evening Margie Stipes summed up the evening by saying, “We look forward to this event each year as a way to say thank you to our volunteers and partners, who are so important to helping KIB fulfill its mission.  Everyone in attendance is here because they care about our wonderful city and making it a better place to live, work and play, and we are very grateful for that.”

Keep Irving Beautiful is an award-winning, grassroots, non-profit leadership organization dedicated to educating community members about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and prosperity of our city. As an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, the goals of Keep Irving Beautiful reach out to all aspects of Irving – government, business, civic and church organizations, schools, neighborhoods. All residents of Irving are a vital part of the program’s success.

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One of KIB's many green events, the PlayTri Festival

The recent “Collision” Youth Conference held at Heartland World Ministries in Irving was the latest in a series of “Green Events” made possible by partnerships with Keep Irving Beautiful.  KIB provided the group with recycling stations and signs which were placed throughout the location, which allowed the 500+ youth and adult attendees to recycle during the conference.  By doing so, they diverted over 80 pounds of recyclable materials such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans from the landfill.  Examples of other large-scale green events were the PlayTri Triathlon Festival in June and numerous events at Lindero Ranch over the past five years.  At the triathlon, not only did KIB volunteers collect the usual plastic and aluminum from the 1,500 participants and supporters, but added the collection of organic materials which were composted instead of thrown in the trash.  KIB created a green partnership with Lindero Ranch in 2009, and continues to provide Green Event supplies for their events, such as a recent quinceañera with 600 guests in attendance, where 40 pounds of aluminum and 15 pounds of plastic bottles were collected. 

 

“Having the presence of the recycling containers as well as the signs which remind people to recycle is important in reinforcing that behavior,” said KIB Board member Kelly Horn.  “The intention to recycle may be there, but if physical equipment is not, they can’t do so.  Partnering in all these green events has brought recycling to the attention of thousands of people, and hopefully has made a difference in their attitudes and increased their recycling in day-to-day life.”

 

Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our city including government, business, church, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations.  If you are interested in volunteering with KIB, or making your activity a “green event,” please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.

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Visitors to the football complex at Trinity View Park will be sure to notice that the handrails are a much brighter shade of yellow, thanks to the efforts of North Lake College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society officer team.  Five members of North Lake’s Alpha Zeta Eta Chapter kicked off their Independence Day Holiday by partnering with Keep Irving Beautiful in a service project on July 3.  Officers Jared Steele, Jenny Maique, Diana Moreno, Cindy Villalta and Carlos Valladares gave a total of 20 hours in prepping and painting the metal railings at one of the park’s four football fields. The Parks Department provided the supplies, and the students and KIB staff did the painting.  This was the second project the recently-elected group has participated in already this summer, as several of these students also worked the PlayTri Triathlon in June.

     “Speaking for the entire Keep Irving Beautiful Board, I can’t say enough about what a great group the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is to work with,” said KIB Board Member Karen Harmon.  “We have been partnering with them for years, and KIB just wouldn’t be the same without them.  They always demonstrate an enthusiasm and strong volunteer spirit in everything they do, and we are fortunate to have such an active chapter right here at North Lake.”

     Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our City including government, business, church, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations.  If you would like to participate in a service project similar to this one, please go to the KIB website, www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.

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Nimitz FFA team after the cleanup

Before the school year was finished, members of the Future Farmers of America chapter from Nimitz High School were already planning their first volunteer activity of the summer, a cleanup with Keep Irving Beautiful.  On Friday, June 13, a total of eleven volunteers – nine youth and their teachers met at Trinity View Park for a cleanup of the area near the football fields, along the tree lines and north along the Campion Trail into River Hills Park.  Using supplies provided by KIB, including yellow safety vests, litter pickers, gloves and trash bags, the group worked in pairs to collect approximately 45 pounds of litter and recyclable materials.

 

Nimitz students have volunteered with Keep Irving Beautiful for many years in different projects, but this was the first time for KIB to partner with the FFA group.  FFA Officer Miryam Ochoa worked with KIB staff and organized the volunteers to help make the project a success.  Parks Department staff provided a truck for the collection of the trash and recycle bags, and made sure the park was ready for the group.

 

“Cleaning up in this location is especially important because it keeps litter from getting into the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, which forms the eastern border of the park,” said KIB Board Member Margie Stipes.  “While we are very grateful for the much-needed rain we recently received, that rain also sweeps a lot of trash into this low-lying area via the creeks that feed into the river.  The work that the Nimitz FFA students and their teachers did today is very much appreciated by KIB everyone who visits the park.”

 

Keep Irving Beautiful is a non-profit, grassroots, leadership organization dedicated to educating our community about litter abatement, recycling, and beautification in order to help preserve the health and promote the social and economic prosperity of our city. As an award winning affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, Keep Irving Beautiful reaches out to and partners with all sectors of our city including government, business, church, cultural, educational, neighborhood and civic organizations.  If you are interested in volunteering with KIB, please go to www.keepirvingbeautiful.org, or call the KIB office at 972-721-2175.