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What did you do on your summer vacation? The age-old question is frequently asked when students go back to school. For a group of young ladies – and lads – the answer to that question is still ongoing.

It started in June when they found a plastic bag in the CVS parking lot and used it to start picking up trash in Lakeland Village Center. Our area is subject to windy conditions and it’s not uncommon to see trash blowing around, especially adjacent to busy streets like Fry Rd. A group made up of predominantly 4th graders from Bridgeland have dedicated numerous hours over their summer vacation to leave a place better than they found it. They call themselves Litter Ladies but the group also includes neighborhood Lads.

Focused on making a difference and caring for the community, this group of youngsters took it upon themselves to continue picking up trash in our area and in other parts of Cypress and even in Katy, as well. Now that school has started, they’ll go out on weekends, as after school is reserved for extra-curricular activities. Their goal is that everyone picks up 2 grocery-sized bags every time they go out. Made up of friends, classmates and neighbors, Litter Ladies make picking up trash fun by doing cartwheels and a pseudo dance routine where they count to 8 and walk arm-in-arm together singing that they’re “a litter bit crazy!”  

These enterprising ladies and lads have an Instagram, managed by a mom of one of the girls, that even features a video of them picking up trash while they were in Colorado on vacation. That’s dedication!

They accept sponsors for cleanups, and promise to donate a portion of what they collect. The process is simple. Venmo any amount to @litter-ladies-cypress and the group will clean up a local area in your name. Follow them on Instagram to see your featured post.

They are setting goals and surpassed their first  (100 bags) on August 7, by picking up 106 grocery bags filled with trash. Since starting their venture, they’ve raised $700. Most recently they donated $500, another goal, to Keep Houston Beautiful. The remaining funds were used to purchase gloves, safety vests and equipment. They celebrated their accomplishments at the end of a very hot summer with a party that included plenty of sweets.

From something that started by accident, they are both learning and caring for the environment, their venture is even an exercise in math, keeping track of stats like 23 cleanups, 39 sponsors and 163 bags of trash since June. They’re also learning good business practices, too. In trying to gain more sponsors and more exposure, the girls partnered with Local Table and met with their marketing team. Through social media, the girls made a request of the community to pick up trash, take a photo, and tag Litter Ladies to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card that was donated by the Lakeland Village Center restaurant. They’d like to continue to grow this concept by partnering with other businesses to reach a larger audience while increasing awareness in others.

On Saturday, October 6 the Litter Ladies were recognized at the Mayor’s Proud Partnership Awards Luncheon for taking the initiative to beautify our area. The original invitation only included four seats, and since the group of regular trash pickers was larger, Howard Hughes Holdings Inc. sponsored the table so that all the Litter Ladies could attend. On Sunday, October 7, the girls volunteered to be Recycling Ambassadors assisting at the Creekland Grand Opening in Bridgeland, ensuring trash and recycling were placed in appropriate bins.

Bridgeland's Litter Ladies

They’ve set another goal, one much larger in scope, and they could use the community’s help. They are seeking to organize a much larger cleanup by involving a community, school, sports team, organization or other group. By increasing the numbers involved in the cleanup, the girls recognize they can make a bigger impact.

If you are inspired by what you’ve read and want to get involved, the best way to reach them is through social media, by leaving a message on Instagram.

One of their Instagram posts asks: What was the best thing about being a Litter Lady? The girls respond with: “Being in the sunshine with their friends,” “Making better habitats for animals,” and that “Doing good deeds makes me feel good.” Summer vacation may be over, but the Litter Ladies are committed to beautifying our area. Keep an eye out for their brightly colored shirts emblazoned with their yellow and red logo and their tongue-in-cheek slogan that reads: Business stinks, but it’s picking up.