Sharon cleanup teaches kids to "get gritty for your city" - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Sharon cleanup teaches kids to "get gritty for your city"

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SHARON, Pa. -

In Sharon, one local business owner got fed up over the amount of litter and overgrown properties, so he decided to do something about it. It's turned into a very real movement.

Geno Rossi grew up in Sharon, he owns a business in Sharon, but over time he started to notice something.

"These kids couldn't even walk on the sidewalks in some of these parts of town," said Rossi, who owns Our Gang's Lounge in Sharon.

The amount of litter and the number of yards with grass more than a foot tall sparked something inside of him. At first, he just grabbed a weed whacker and took care of it himself, documenting it all on Instagram.

"You want to see change in the world, you got to be change in the world," said Rossi. "So instead of running for the hills like a lot of people do, I figured home is where you make it and if we're going to make it something special then, if not me is it going to be you? And if not you, then who is going to do it?"

That was just the beginning. Rossi is now a Code Enforcement Officer in Sharon and quickly learned he wasn't the only one who saw the problem.

"I've noticed. It's all around, and it's kind of just disgusting and disgraceful," said Farrell senior Melvin Hobson.

So this week, Rossi invited the football teams from both Sharon and Farrell to team up and clean up, filling bags with the trash left on the sidewalks and getting a closer look at something that most of the time we just drive right past.

"Just in our routines of everyday life, you drive down certain roads whether that's just the fastest way or whether it's the most convenient way," said Rossi. "We're not really paying attention. When you do, it's kind of like, 'Oh wow. Things are different'."

There's a lesson to be learned from this. Just because players from Sharon and Farrell aren't teammates when it comes to Friday nights in the fall, doesn't mean they aren't teammates when it comes to the community.

"We're together with Farrell, and that's good with the community; both schools near each other," said Sharon senior Tylon Eilam.

"It's just like on the football field. If you work together as a team, get a common goal accomplished," said Farrell varsity football coach Anthony Pegues. "Right now we're just all one big team, Farrell, Sharon. We're just human beings. We're trying to clean up the city."

"We hope that starting with this and moving forward and doing it more and more in different communities, it's something that will stick," said Sharon varsity football coach Jason McElhaney.

"This is their town. This is their city, and it is what we make it. So if we want to just continue to throw garbage all over the place, then that's what's going to continue to happen, and it's only going to get worse," said Rossi.

Or maybe this is the start of it all getting better; kids and adults getting gritty for their city, as Rossi puts it, and making a difference right at home.

Rossi teamed up with the C.O.O.L. program locally as well and says he hopes to have more events like this in the future.

If you or your organization is interested in helping with this effort, you can contact Rossi at the Sharon Code Enforcement office at (724) 983-3210. You can also follow along with the progress through the Instagram page "gettin.gritty.for.your.city" created by Rossi.

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