Volunteers come together to clean up Rockford’s Ellis Heights neighborhood

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A local organization continues their push for a cleaner Rockford as volunteers from Project 1013 took to the streets on Wednesday to clean up the Ellis Heights neighborhood.

“The important thing is, just make relationships with the residents. Let them know we care, that we want to e here to help them, and to make Rockford a better place,” said Randy Young, the project manager for Project 1013.

Residents and volunteers teamed up, in the hopes of bringing a feeling of safety to Ellis Heights.

“It feels really good to see everybody together, and you know there’s some people that can’t clean up their yards, and seeing them helping around and mowing the yard really helps out, it really does,” said Katherine Gerard, who lives in the neighborhood.

Since 2010, Project 1013 has brought people together to beautify Ellis Heights, one of Rockford’s most troubled neighborhoods.

Gerard says she’s noticed a big difference in her community. “When they did this last year, I definitely saw a difference in how people were cleaning their yards. There was a lot less garbage around, which does help,” she said.

Dan Sedols says he has volunteered for the last nine years, because he feels blessed to be able to care for his own home.

“[I want to be] obedient to what God tells us what to do, and I just want to hand out these blessings to other people, too,” he said.

It wasn’t all hard work: neighborhood kids danced with police and the United Way provided free lunches during an afternoon block party.

Ellis Heights kids say they are happy with the work and have one message for their neighbors:

“Keep the neighborhood clean! Please be a good influence on these kids,” a trio of children, Jenia, Kamora, and Zamariaj said.

Project 1013 gets its name from the Bible verse Matthew 10:13, which reads: “If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it.”

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