United Way MV ELU Cleans West Utica Neighborhood as National Volunteer Week Wraps

WEST UTICA, N.Y. – United Way of the Mohawk Valley’s Emerging Leaders United (United Way MV’s ELU) headed to West Utica for their bi-annual clean-up over the weekend. The ELU Spring Clean-Up is an effort that brings local volunteers together in partnership with the City of Utica and “Keep America Beautiful” to positively impact the local community. 

As National Volunteer Week wrapped up, nearly 40 volunteers gathered early Saturday, April 22, 2023, to clean debris throughout West Utica and the surrounding area. And what better day for volunteers to partake in the Spring Clean-Up than Earth Day? Volunteers collected 35 bags of litter and debris after the year’s winter melt. Emerging Leaders United is now hosting not only the spring event but also a Fall Clean-Up as well. 

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to recognize the impact that volunteers have not only locally, but on a global level. United Way MV relies heavily on volunteer service to carry out its mission, so putting together Spring Clean-Up near the close of such a powerful movement was timely. 

“Keeping our neighborhoods litter-free is a baseline that all community members deserve. United Way of the Mohawk Valley strives to make a positive impact with each clean-up effort we host,” said Matthew Caracas, United Way MV’s CEO/Executive Director. “I can’t think of a more enjoyable or helpful way for community volunteers to engage locally. It’s truly a win-win for all involved.”

This is the 25th annual Great American Clean-up and the 5th year United Way MV’s ELU has helped to bring together local community volunteers as a part of this effort in the Mohawk Valley.

“Last year we set a goal to expand our clean-up efforts, and adding an additional location really solidifies that ELU is doing what we aim to do as a group,” said Bernadette Wormuth, Emerging Leaders United committee chair. “Bringing people together to volunteer and make a difference in the Mohawk Valley is one of our main goals, and we are doing just that – one clean-up at a time.”
The Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program. According to the Keep America Beautiful website, it engages more than 3 million volunteers and participants each year. Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful is an affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful Program. The mission is to organize, engage and empower public and private entities in the Mohawk Valley to take greater responsibility for improving their community environment. 

Volunteers were split into groups and competed to see who could win a debris-inspired scavenger hunt along their route. As a thank you, Saranac Brewery donated access to their tavern and a free drink to all the ELU Spring Clean-Up volunteers. Sponsors Berkshire Bank and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield make United Way MV ELU volunteer opportunities possible. Both sponsors had a team at the clean-up.
For more information on Emerging Leaders United, visit www.unitedwaymv.org/elu. Check out the photo gallery here.


About United Way of the Mohawk Valley
Since 1921, United Way of the Mohawk Valley (United Way MV) has been a human service leader helping thousands of local individuals and families by bringing people and organizations together to solve our community’s challenges. As one of the area’s top funders, dozens of programs rely on United Way MV funding yearly.
United Way MV is a leader in innovation through projects and initiatives addressing crucial community health, education, and financial stability issues. For information about United Way of the Mohawk Valley, to donate or to get involved, visit www.unitedwaymv.org, or call 315.733.4691