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Aspire House helps clean up Northwest Landing neighborhood on Earth Day

Aspire Higher hosts Earth Day cleanup

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis nonprofit is hosting a cleanup event to commemorate Earth Day.

The Aspire Higher Foundation started working Monday morning around the Northwest Landing neighborhood in the area of 30th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets.

Organizers expected over 100 people to volunteer for their 4th annual Earth Day event, including area students and staff from IU Health and the Marion County Public Health Department.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., volunteers will work on two Aspire House community gardens and clean up and paint four alleyways. Some of the trash picked up during the event will be used to create art in the neighborhood.

Sharon Clark, co-founder and executive director of Aspire Higher, says the message behind Earth Day embodies a lot of their work.

“We want to make sure we’re making an impact [on Earth],” Clark said. “We do our sustainability in a lot of ways, but one of them is recycling, repurposing things and reusing it in the community. Here in Northwest Landing, it’s a big deal for us. We get a lot of dumping; instead of us hauling it off to dump it in another spot, we use it in art.”

The Aspire Higher Foundation opened up its community center, “The Aspire House” in February.

The nonprofit received grants from the 2024 All-Star Host Committee and others to renovate an old firehouse to use as a center.

With a new home, Aspire Higher hopes to continue its work to revitalize the neighborhood and expand programming to include all ages. It’s provided sports programming for kids in Indianapolis since 2018.

Community Relations Coordinator Nora Routolo says the work done on Earth Day will also help with their programming.

“We just want to be a hub for the community,” Routolo said. “A place for people of all ages, from the little kids in the schools to the seniors to just be able to gather, to learn, to be a resource to them. So opening our community center and having these garden spaces and accessible alleyways just really allows us to be able to do that.”

IU Indianapolis student Randall Sargent came to help with his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi

“[I want] to make it a better place for the environment, for future generations, it’s something here for us to have,” Sargent said. “We all can do our part to keep the community clean. Try not to litter — just throw your trash away, recycle and just try to do smart things, small things can go a long way to help this community.”

Aspire Higher welcomes walk-up volunteers and will provide equipment for those looking to help. Crews will be working until 5 p.m.