“Together We Can”

By Anne Meyer Byler

April 21--Despite rain earlier in the morning, over a hundred people gathered on Saturday morning in Goshen and Elkhart for the “Together We Can / Juntos Podemos” community clean-up event, sponsored by the Immigration Task Force.

Coffee and atole, along with doughnuts and tamales of all varieties welcomed the Goshen participants, who met at Shanklin Park’s Schrock Pavilion and then went to work at several sites. “The purpose of our project is to show that when we join together and work side by side, we become a stronger community,” said Marilyn Torres in opening remarks.

She also thanked The Electric Brew for donating coffee and Dutch Maid Bakery for doughnuts. Marilyn and Miguel Millan are co-coordinators of the Task Force.

Goshen tasks were coordinated by the Goshen Park and Recreation Department. Sheri Howland, Superintendent, told the group assembled that the department’s budget was getting tighter, so volunteers were becoming more essential to keep the parks well-maintained.

Maricela Vela came with her two children, Janeth and Eduardo, students at Goshen Middle School where they had heard of the project. Eduardo put the time he spent toward service project hours required of all 8th graders. Another parent helping at Pringle park was John Lichti, who came with his sons Jacob and Carlos.

Volunteers helped with another project at Shanklin Park—removing plants from the park forests that were “invasive species”. Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley, city forester, described these as plants that tend to take over and keep native plants from flourishing, At the end of the morning Frank Shula, Goshen parks recreation coordinator said, “It was great! We got a lot done in a little bit of time.”