The combination of a picturesque day, surf competition and hundreds of other kids at the beach did not slow this group down one iota. These children volunteered to sacrifice the better part of their Sunday, unencumbered by the surrounding festivities, indeed setting a prime example for all who reap the benefits of the Pacific Ocean.
While one may not envision heaps of plastic debris or other trash strewn about the pristine beaches of La Jolla, the Little Mensches, under the direction of SD Coastkeepers representative Kristin Kuhn, procured quite the haul at their past beach clean up.
“Typically, most of these beach cleanups I have been involved in are a few hours long,” said Chairperson of the Little Mensches program, Jessica Fink. “While the kids will only be out here for an hour, it entails much more than simply keeping a beach clean. This instills a sense of pride and ownership in their community, as well as educates them on how to protect their waters for future generations.”
Roughly fifty plus children participated in the event, pacing the shores with trash claws and bags, enthusiastically collecting trash as though it were sunken treasure.
The Little Mensches did not simply arrive, pick up trash, then beg for some ice cream on the drive home. They remained attentive while Kuhn explained how putrefaction affects their waters, exhibits plastic bits all discovered in the stomach of one poor fish, and encourages them to take care of what they seemingly understand as necessary.
“You know, it’s one thing to organize these cleanups throughout all of the wonderful beaches that San Diego has to offer,” says Kuhn. “While that is a large part of what we [SD Coastkeepers] organize, I find the educational arm provides a greater lasting impact. These kids really care and it shows.”
According to Kuhn, SD Coastkeepers organize monthly cleanups, sponsored cleanups, and “beach cleanups in a box.” The latter ensures that if one cannot make it to a cleanup, they are still able to do their part. In this case, SD Coastkeepers provide all the necessary tools for roughly twenty-five people to execute a beach cleanup. This “do it yourself” option is ideal for “nonprofits, community centers, churches, family reunions, university service organizations, and other small groups looking to give back to the community.”
In total, the Little Mensches collected 52.5 pounds of debris off of the beach. That’s rather impressive for a group of children between the ages of four and eight years old. The items were then recycled in accordance with state regulations.