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Las Vegas Residents With Intellectual Disabilities Learn Job Skills

Opportunity Village graduation ceremony.

Opportunity Village is a wonderful organization that provides opportunities for people who have intellectual disabilities. It provides a service for these individuals to gain job skills and experience they might otherwise not have the chance to learn. Clean the World Las Vegas is proud to partner with Opportunity Village and the men and women who serve our life-saving mission on a regular basis.

The young adults of Opportunity Village visit our Las Vegas warehouse to help sort bottled amenities. Clean the World Hygiene Kits rely heavily on recycled bottled amenities from hotel partners, and having several helping hands on a daily basis gives us the ability to increase our impact through repurposed hygiene amenities.

This is Clean the World’s third year as an Opportunity Village partner. The program runs like a regular school year, August through June, Monday through Friday. While working in the Clean the World warehouse, Opportunity Village participants learn a variety of skills throughout the workday.

“We teach them the responsibility of having a full-time job. Getting up early every morning, being on time every day, being accountable for the quality of their work, following directions, and how to behave in a professional environment,” says Kevin Williams, Clean the World Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center Manager.

The Clean the World and Opportunity Village partnership is instrumental in giving these young adults independence and allows them to contribute to a meaningful cause. During the program, Clean the World employees work alongside Opportunity Village participants, helping them improve their communication and patience. As a result, towards the end of the program around graduation time, there’s a visible rise in confidence and self-reliance among the workers.

Kevin spends time with the group every day throughout the program. “I can say that nothing I’ve done professionally to this point in my life makes me happier or prouder than the work we do with these kids. All they want is to be treated like adults and respected as such. A simple ‘great job today’ can make their whole week.”

The end of the year graduation ceremony is always a bittersweet experience. Clean the World employees enjoy working alongside these extraordinary individuals and love celebrating their achievements. As Opportunity Village students learn from our organization, our team also learns from them. We are so grateful for the partnership and their hard work. Clean the World looks forward to strengthening this relationship for years to come.

Hotel Room Attendants Have a Personal Connection to the Hygiene Mission

Claudia speaking to room attendants at the Orlando Marriott World Center.
Claudia speaking to room attendants at the Orlando Marriott World Center.

Clean the World often takes the time to visit hotels participating in our recycling program. It is a way to share the mission and empower the room attendants to make a difference in the world in a personal way. Attendants are on the forefront of the Global Hygiene Revolution. They are the ones who take the first step in diverting waste from landfills, the first step to providing someone with life-saving hygiene products. Clean the World’s Donya McSwain and Oscar Gonzalez recently visited Orlando Marriott World Center to inspire the staff. The day held inspiration and motivation for us all.

Donya and Oscar shared the message of how thousands of needless childhood deaths can be prevented with access to soap. They talked about the importance of each housekeeper, and the responsibility they hold in helping these children. Our team spoke to the group in both English and Spanish.

“The message seems to reach their heart in their native language,” Donya said.

On this visit, Donya and Oscar brought along Pastor Julio Brutus, a pioneer for the Clean the World’s mission. Pastor Brutus is the man who made it possible for our planes to land in parts of Haiti that were in dire need after Clean the World launched in 2009. He is a crucial member of the Clean the World family, helping reach thousands of children in Haiti throughout the years.

As the head pastor of the Evangelical Church of Haiti, he interacts with 100,000 members. More one million bars of soap have been distributed in Haiti through Pastor Brutus’ efforts alone.

Pastor Brutus delivered the message of Clean the World to the hotel employees in Haitian Creole, the native language of many staff members. He brought a guest, a young lady named Claudia. “As she was speaking in Haitian Creole, you could hear her stress, the importance of the housekeeping staff saving the soap so others can prosper,” Donya said.

Claudia runs a Medical Clinic in Haiti. She is on the front lines of illness, seeing the struggle every day. “Her message was so moving, she connected with the housekeeping staff, I didn’t know that I would be moved to tears from the response we received,” Donya said.

Housekeepers chimed in on the struggles their families and friends face at home in Haiti. One housekeeper stated that all the people she knows in her country are in need of the soap we provide.

Everything at Clean the World is about how we can positively affect the world around us. Our individual decisions and the actions we take here in our own nation, our own state, our own community have a global impact. Through our actions we can save lives with soap.

Language unites us, but even more important is our belief in helping others, the goal to create happier, healthier lives through our daily actions.

Since 2009, Orlando Marriott World Center has been able to contribute more than 16,000 pounds of discarded soap, allowing us to create 85,995 new bars of recycled soap. What an amazing accomplishment.

There are so many ways you can help your community and the world. To find out how you or your organization can make a difference through Clean the World, please contact us today.

Hygiene in Schools Program Helps Students Adopt Healthy Habits

Clean the World’s Oscar Gonzalez teaches proper hand washing techniques.

Clean the World is revolutionizing the way children learn health education in schools. Under the direction of Cairra Martin, our Global Health Coordinator, we are piloting the “Hygiene in Schools” program at two public schools in Orange County, Florida: Eccleston Elementary and Memorial Middle School.

The elementary years are a key time for hygiene education to ensure students build healthy habits while middle school is a pivotal time for children to learn hygiene as they are maturing.

Once a month, Clean the World staff members participate in this community giveback. They join students and parents for three hours after school, the period when some children are waiting for parents who are still at work.

“We are establishing a fun and interactive environment where we can educate the students and families on the correct amount of time needed to wash their hands properly while providing them with the hygiene amenities to follow through with their lesson at home,” Cairra says. “Each participant uses our CTW black light box to learn how germs travel and how proper hand washing is the best way to get your hand clean. We give each child a glowing solution for their hands, a visual representation of the true amount of germs on their hands.”

Under the black light, they can see where germs build up in nails, on the palm and in between the fingers.

“Once each participant is thoroughly grossed out by the germs, they then properly wash their hands for a full twenty seconds.” The kids come back to the black light box to check that they have no “glowing germs” on their hands. Often startled to see glowing, missed areas between their fingers, they rush back to the sink to vanquish the remaining “germs.” This experiment not only teaches the important of the length of time to wash one’s hands but also the importance of thoroughly scrubbing with soap.

The program includes interactive games teaching about germs, as well as fun activity sheets to take home. Cairra and the team are proud to say each household that engages with our program truly enjoys the experience and shows us that Clean the World is moving in the right direction to becoming the leader in hygiene education and awareness.

It is so important to grow the program right here in our home base of Orlando, where nearly one-fifth of all homeless public-school students across the state now live in Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties.

Nationally, an estimated 22 million school days are lost annually because of colds alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, hand washing is the most simple and efficient way to combat these preventable illnesses. By providing this hygiene education, often not covered in the school curriculum, Clean the World bolsters children’s health to keep them confident and in the classroom.

Providing soap and hygiene education for continued childhood success and growth are a primary focus for Clean the World. With the success of our pilot program in Orlando, we are making plans to roll out Hygiene in Schools to communities throughout Florida and the United States. If you are interesting in funding hygiene education in schools, please visit cleantheworld.org/donate.

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