Phoenix Academy Helps Beautify Lancaster Community Through Spring Clean-Up Day
Phoenix Academy’s teachers and staff have always considered themselves to be part of the community they serve. Through clothing drives, food giveaways, educational outreach and many other initiatives, the school brings people together for positive purposes. Its recent spring clean-up day joined students, staff and community members to help get people out of their homes and into the streets to spruce up the neighborhood.
Executive Director Megan Misnik organized the clean-up day that was held Saturday, April 17. About 30 staff members, students and community residents grabbed gloves, bags and trash pickers and cleaned up the neighborhood around the school, which is in downtown Lancaster, PA. Mayor Danene Sorace and members from Bench Mark, a youth gym that transforms the community and underserved youth, took part in the cleanup efforts.
“It was a great event that brought together staff, students and the community on a Saturday to give back to our community,” said Misnik. “While we were focused on helping to beautify the neighborhood, our broader goal was to bring everyone together to do something positive and get people out of their homes. The pandemic kept a lot of neighbors inside, some felt isolated, so everyone was invited to join us outdoors and help clean up.”
Misnik coordinated Phoenix Academy’s first clean-up day in 2019 with the goal of holding a community clean up each fall and spring. Due to the health and safety requirements put in place as a result of the pandemic, the clean-up events were put on hold last spring and fall.
“We were really excited to resume the clean-up efforts this spring,” said Misnik. “We plan to continue these events and hope that our turnout increases each time.”
The students who participated didn’t just have a great time being together and seeing their friends and classmates but recognized the importance of teamwork and nurturing positive energy for the community.
“It was nice to clean up around our community,” said 17-year-old student, Dominic Melton. “It felt great to focus on the whole community and pick up trash wherever we saw it.”
Eighteen-year-old student Delilah Galvin said she would like to participate in more clean-up days. “I felt like my efforts made an impact on my community. I look forward to doing this more often and getting more people involved.”
Some neighbors recognized the efforts of the group and acknowledged their efforts. Nineteen-year-old student Jusuan Paige was surprised and inspired when a neighbor personally thanked him.
“It was a cool experience. A woman came outside to thank me for cleaning up around her house,” said Paige. “It felt great to be able to give back and for her to recognize my efforts.”
Phoenix Academy, a Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI) school, is a transitional social and emotional learning program for students to temporarily learn before returning to their original school with improved behavior, attendance and academic performance. The school takes a whole-child approach incorporating healthy living, behavioral learning methods and other life skills training for students to expand their horizons in multiple ways.
SESI is a premier provider of education services for K-12 students who face challenges that prevent them from being successful in a traditional classroom. SESI partners with school districts to run in-district classrooms and stand-alone schools that meet the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of special and alternative education students.
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