Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Keep Carrollton Beautiful – 2004

Keep Carrollton Beautiful was wrought out of a strong passion for the environment and a third-generation desire to serve the community of Carrollton. While networking at an EPA Environmental Educator’s Roundtable, Sharon Goddard made the decision to create an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful. The rest is the history of Keep Carrollton Beautiful.

In an attempt to partner with the City of Carrollton, Sharon proposed Keep Carrollton Beautiful to Leonard Martin, the City Manager in February of 2004. Upon receiving a cool reception but some encouragement to “see what you can do in two years”, she calmly presented the photos of 10 commercial dump sites within the city limits. Mr. Martin was more interested in these, being sure she didn’t leave without giving him the offending addresses.

Since the City didn’t want the program, Sharon began calling everyone with whom she had ever spoken in Carrollton, beginning with the Elm Fork Nature Preserve coordinator, Beth Acosta. Sharon had already made a proposal to Beth for “I Am Earth’s Friend” classes for preschoolers to be given at the recreation centers and knew she was in charge of many of the City environmental events. With another reserved reception under her belt, she called more people whom she knew from some past participation and people who others recommended that she call. These many, many phone and personal conversations netted much more interest and enthusiasm.

The original Board of Directors for Keep Carrollton Beautiful immerged from these conversations. Doug Tobe, a CPA/MBA who used to be Sharon’s son’s Scout Master; Mark Schallhorn, the director of the CFBISD Outdoor Learning Center; Diana Albrecht, the wife of The Rotary Club’s president; and Jeff Weaver, the manager of the Ebby Halliday office in Carrollton. With actual people for the board, Keep Carrollton Beautiful was well on its way.

All the Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate coordinators were very supportive, especially Lecrecia Boyd from Keep Lewisville Beautiful who invited Keep Carrollton Beautiful to participate in the March 25, 2004 kick-off of the paper recycling program for the LISD (which includes 7 Carrollton schools). The recycling program was a great success and is being perfected, then we will bring it to CFBISD.

Our first Board Meeting on March 30, 2004 was really a dinner party for some complete strangers! It was clear from the first meeting that these individuals were also interested in helping the community, willing to give of their time to make Keep Carrollton Beautiful triumphant and a very unified group. We created our mission statement “To empower Carrollton to enhance our community environment” and approved our By Laws at that first meeting with almost everyone there undertaking an executive title.

The first year really took off as we facilitated events and forged partnerships.

In April of 2004, for our three Great American Cleanup events, we partnered with Intuit and had 35 volunteers who spent over 250 hours cleaning the Trinity River collecting 2340 pounds of gushy, yucky trash; then we discovered that the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts were the best kind of volunteers when 41 Scouts collected 440 pounds of trash in the pouring rain; and we also partnered with ST Microelectronics and had 7 volunteers collect 400 pounds of trash from the creek behind Creekview High School.

On September 16, 2004, we revitalize the abandoned Marie Huie Outdoor Learning Center with Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. and 22 volunteers donated and planted two new raised butterfly gardens for the school and neighborhood kids to study.

In October of 2004, we facilitated Environmental Awareness Classes discussing Carrollton ‘Scaping; Backyard Water Gardens; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rebuy; and Your Organic Yard with eleven presenters, and also organized Make A Difference Day by partnering with The Civic League, Senior Adult Services, Mosaic, Halliburton and the Boy Scouts to refurbish the exteriors of four homes owned by citizens who could not do their own work (60 volunteers spent 469 hours in preparation and execution of our projects).

On November 13, 2004, we held our first Texas Recycles Day partnering with 9 recycling vendors and all four Carrollton high schools, diverting 7,500 pounds of recyclables from the landfill.

In only one year, we partnered with 77 businesses, 248 individuals, 4 civic organizations, 8 other non-profits, 6 other Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates and 7 City departments to unify Carrollton amassing 3,600 hours of volunteer labor.

Over the summer of 2004, we started planning for the Great American Cleanup 2005 in partnership with Tejas and Cross Timbers Councils of the Girl Scouts U.S.A. and the Circle Ten North District Boy Scouts.

During the school year, we partnered with Carrollton/Farmers Branch Independent School District administration to coordinate Earth Day with the science teachers, create Clean Sweep for Schools with the principals and facilitate Texas Recycles Day with community service groups from all four high schools.

On September 7, 2004, Sharon persuaded the Carrollton City Council to give Keep Carrollton Beautiful a $5,000 Community Service Assistance Grant.

In December of 2004, we kicked-off our “Yard of the Month” award program by presenting our sign and certificate to the Rojas family.

As our work progressed, there was ongoing preparation for our non-profit status with the IRS and in August after many hours of revision by Doug Tobe and Sharon, we received our 501(c)(3) standing. Sharon recruited 10 sponsors and 10 business, family and individual members, raising $7,681 in cash and $10,875 in-kind donations. She wrote 8 grants, created newsletters for each season and awarded “Volunteer of the Season” awards.

We lost one Board Members (Diana) and added two new; Julie Poe, an old friend of Sharon’s, Mia Simmons, who is active in the gardening and environmental communities, and then added and lost Lela Khan, a community tree and herb specialist who continues to volunteer for us.

We brought our year to a close with a warm and cheerful Christmas Board Meeting held at the Republic Title building awarding our “Volunteer of the Year” award to Doug Tobe. We had accomplished much in just one year and we deserved to celebrate!