On Tuesday, June 17th, we put on our slightly worn clothes and headed over the Hebrew Cultural Garden to assist with the clean-up. When we arrived we were greeted by Mr. Bill Jones who devotes his time to maintaining the Cleveland Cultural Gardens for all to enjoy. Mr. Jones told us that we could help him supervise the young people from J-Teen Camp Cleveland from the Mandel Jewish Community Center who were on their way to assist with the clean-up. As it turned out, there were 33 teenage camp members and 3 counselors at our disposal.
First of all, Mr. Jones took a few minutes to explain the history of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens to the campers. He said that people from all over the world immigrated to the United States and often settled in their own enclaves where they could be around their own people and speak the language of their native country. Thus the Gardens were created as a place where everyone could come together and be friends. Moreover, he stressed that even though there might be tensions between Israel and Syria and Azerbaijan and Armenia may be at war with each other, everyone got along well here. Mr. Jones publicly thanked Margaret W. Wong for sending someone to help with the clean-up today and told the campers who Margaret W. Wong was.
He then went on to divide the campers into 2 groups which would rotate between the clean-up and exploring the Gardens. Mr. Jones urged the explorers to visit at least six Gardens and look at the plaques and statues and see if they recognized any of the names of those honored. Our task was to supervise the campers who were gathering the leaves in the gully next to the Hebrew Garden. So we spent an hour and a half raking leaves onto tarps and then carrying the tarps to the disposal area where we dumped the leaves and headed back to the gulley to start all over again.
After an hour and a half everyone met for a photo and Mr. Jones thanked the campers and told them that they had contributed a lot today which they did indeed. He thanked Margaret W. Wong once more for sending assistance. As we left, we took another look at the gully; we didn’t get all of the leaves but we certainly did make a significant dent.