Team Tidy takes out trash as part of inclusive drive to change Surrey

New initiative aims to change the way people see Newton, one step at a time

Rob Miyoshi

NEWTON — Kenneth Green and Rob Miyoshi hit the streets of Newton four days a week donning blue vests with the words “Team Tidy” splashed across the back.

Their job is to pick up garbage in the town centre.

It may seem simple, and perhaps it is, but it means a lot to the two men.

Green has had cognitive challenges since birth and through his job tidying up trash, he’s overcoming his learning challenges.

And Miyoshi is a recovering addict, two years clean.

“It’s helped me get back on my feet,” Miyoshi said. “There’s a positive side to this for me as a person in recovery… I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and this side of the fence is a lot better.”

While he strolls through the streets of Newton, he said he comes across a lot of “down and out” people.

“I try to tell them there’s a better life. Like, look at me,” he said. “I’m able to walk the streets with my head held high rather than being in the gloomy doom of addiction. It’s a totally different story now. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

And the gig is just as rewarding for Green.

“I like coming up here. I meet a lot of people. It’s a fun place to come, it’s a fun job.

“I’m out there, I’m cleaning, maybe one person isn’t going to change this whole entire world, like me, or even two of us, it’s going to take more than that. But the way I look at it, it’s a start.”

Janice Huber, employer and community liaison with Avia Employment Services in Newton, was the one who connected Green and the BIA.

“It’s a beautiful story, he’s so happy, he’s getting paid and his self esteem is through the roof,” she said about Green.

“For me, it feels like we do so much work that doesn’t have good success stories. As employment counsellors, because that’s really what we are, we just think, ‘wow.’ We really remember the success stories. And that’s what this is.”

Team Tidy was Newton BIA director Philip Aguirre’s idea.

“The future starts with things like Team Tidy,” said Aguirre. “They pick up garbage, they report back on graffiti, they report back on loitering and anything else they see… They’re my eyes on the street.”

The BIA recently received the Innovative Labour Solutions Award from Community Living BC for being an inclusive employer.

“It was a no-brainer,” Aguirre said of hiring the two men. “When you work together you can have a positive community.”

While the Team Tidy initiative helps out the two men, Aguirre said it goes a lot farther than that.

“We want to re-establish the community. And the strength of it is often in the people,” said Aguirre.

He sees it as the first step in revamping the perception of the area – and changing that perception can begin with something as simple as cleaning up the trash, he said.

“We’ll start there,” said Aguirre. “And we’re going to build from there. We’re going to build with people, we’re going to build with Kenneth, we’re going to build with Rob and we’re going to build with every asset we have in the community. Eventually, we’re going to create something amazing.”

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

Surrey building that has gathered dust for 20 years is for sale again, with bids sought

Potential sale of the long-vacant 104 Avenue Centre is good news, Surrey Board of Trade CEO says

Fluterrific returning to North Delta Rec Centre

The annual flute concert will showcase music from all genres on Sunday, Nov. 18

WATCH: Goalie from North Delta scores in AHL hockey game

Tristan Jarry makes history for Penguins by hitting an empty net

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. teacher suspended 5 days for touching colleague’s buttocks

Lancer Kevin Price of Chilliwack has handed the retroactive suspension for 2017 incidents

Most Read