by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Milwaukie Cares members Brandon Kneebone, Courtney Ryman, Emme Eubanks and Leticia Frutis get ready to pick up trash on May 2, the day before Milwaukie's First Friday.The slogan on the electric blue T-shirts says it all: Milwaukie Cares.

Milwaukie High School students wearing those T-shirts will be visible on city streets on Thursday, May 2, tidying up the city in readiness for First Friday on May 3. Groups of 50 students will continue to clean up the city before every First Friday from May through October, said Scott Roosevelt, a history teacher at MHS and the adviser for the leadership class.

Milwaukie Cares was created last year, as part of Annie Ross Week, an event that MHS students took part in to raise funds for the Annie Ross House, the only emergency family shelter in Clackamas County. It is across the street from the high school.

“During Annie Ross Week we would raise money by having a staff-student basketball game and a volleyball game with the junior boys against the senior boys. The main focus of all this was to raise money to better our community,” said Courtney Ryman, 16, an Associated Student Body vice president.

“This year we brought back the carnival, and we turned all the activities into Milwaukie Cares Week,” added Leticia Frutis, 18, another ASB vice president, noting that all the money raised by the events was given to the Annie Ross House and Habitat for Humanity.

Milwaukie Cares is a conglomerate of clubs at the high school, including the Interact Club, an environmental group, the National Honor Society, the Habitat for Humanities Club and the ASB, Roosevelt said.

The cleanup came about, he said, because the city of Milwaukie asked the school to gather a group of students before each First Friday to pick up trash in the area where the event takes place.

Students will meet at the high school at 3:30 p.m. on the Thursday before the First Friday event, and walk down McLoughlin Boulevard and Main and 23rd streets, cleaning up trash and gathering anything that can be recycled. At 5 p.m. they will meet at Pietro’s Pizza for a party.

“This is just another example of how the school comes together to clean up the community. What this group of kids and staff does best is take care of the community and take care of each other,” Roosevelt said.

“This is a way to get involved; to show the community we care what happens around us. It unites us and brings us together to work toward a common goal,” said Emme Eubanks, 15, the freshman class vice president.

Brandon Kneebone, 16, the sophomore class vice president, added, “Milwaukie Cares combines different groups of students and allows us to give back to the community in a positive way.”

For more information about this event and other student body activities, call Milwaukie High School at 503-353-5830.

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