Raymond Coalition For Youth News

Taking Pride in Raymond Sweeps through the Town
Submitted by Celeste Clark 5-16-19

"People were thanking us, and that made me feel really good." A comment from a Raymond High school student on Wednesday, May 15. Self-pride, community pride, involvement, appreciation, and connections are all some of the reasons why the Raymond Coalition For Youths Operation Raymond Clean Up event, in its fifteenth year, is so important. In one day, twelve hundred pounds of trash was collected and properly disposed of.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of people have taken to the streets, parks, and trails of Raymond NH to clean up trash, recyclables, bulk waste items, and cigarette butts. "It's unbelievable what some people throw away, and where they throw it," said one student. One of the oddest items found was a loveseat; one of the oldest was a submerged shopping cart from the old Prescott Farms grocery store submerged in the river. Participants collected bikes, tires, liquor bottles, beer cans and filled four gallon sized plastic bags full of cigarette butts as part of Breathe NH's annual Bag-The-Butts campaign.

A big bonus to this day was exposing people, especially our high school students, to some of the fun undiscovered locations we have in this great little town. Riverside Park, located at the end of Sundeen Parkway, is a park that has a playground, dog park, walking trails, and a beautiful field. This park is an excellent location for enjoying nature and taking some time to unwind and relax. "I am so excited; I have lived here my whole life and didn't even know this place existed." said a chaperone who had a group of high school students participating in the clean-up community service day.

There are the rails to trails that go through Raymond from Prescott Road in Epping to Depot Road in Candia. These trails are unpaved but wide enough for walking, running and bike riding. There is even a secret spot on the Lamprey River for those who might like to go fishing, or sit and relax, taking in nature.

This year the new town manager, Joe Ilsley, wanted the town to be more a part of this event and offered for town employees to participate. With the town involved, RCFY was able to get the school involved, and it transformed into a high school community service day with conversations of making this a graduation requirement moving forward.

"Anytime we can get adults and kids positively interacting with each other, it increases a young person's protective factors. In the world of prevention, these are the good things in a person's life that help them to succeed," commented Celeste Clark, Executive Director of RCFY. "Today was full of protective factors: connecting kids to the community, giving them an opportunity to take pride in the place they call home, positive adult role models and interactions, businesses stepping up to support them, adults taking an interest in them, all super amazing things."

"This was the beginning of a great relationship between the school and the town of Raymond, and we are looking forward to great things," said Mr. Ilsley. A special thank you to Raymond Police Department, Recreation Department, and Public Works for setting up and cooking lunch for everyone who was a part of this day. A special shout out to high school teacher Mr. Hayes who got the grill up and going. "He's the best," said a student waiting to eat - a comment that was repeated by more than a few students who know him as a teacher they can go to as a trusted adult. In the prevention world, an adult like him is priceless.

One of the goals of RCFY is to increase community collaboration, and this event hit a home run. T-shirts specially designed for the day said: "I AM THE COALITION" because everyone who makes an event like this a success is what the Raymond Coalition For Youth is all about - a community working together. RCFY is so much bigger than one person, one department or one group - it takes all of us, and that is why RCFY is a success - because so many people pitch in.

A special thank you to Hannaford, who provided healthy morning snacks for all of our high school students.

A special thank you to Tuckaway Tavern who provided the hamburgers, hot dogs, and water for over four hundred volunteers.

This event was made possible through the RCFY Drug-Free Community grant funds and SAMHSA Partnership for Success Grant in the Raymond School District.


Photos provided by RCFY


Check out all of the pictures of this great community event on Raymond Coalition For Youth social media sites.


For more information, please visit www.rcfy.org.
Working together, we do make a difference!






Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another.

   ~ Erma Bombeck ~

Never before has man had such a great capacity to control his own environment, to end hunger, poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and human misery.

We have the power to make the best generation of mankind in the history of the world.

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