Jun 13, 201611:04 AMCity Beat
York 'Punks' Punch Out Litter
Photography by Daulton J. Leonard
From Left: (Samantha Keane, Dustin Hildebrand, Steve Klinedinst, Mandy Lewis and Lily Lewis). The original 'punks' pose for a group photo over a banner hanging out front of the York YMCA on Newberry Street.
Pounding the Sunday pavement of the sleepy York, Pennsylvania streets are individuals known as Punks for Positivity. Armed with trash bags, gloves, and big hearts they walk the streets of York protesting the litter on the streets by personally eliminating it. This non-profit benefactor group is headed by two men whose hearts beat with the pulse of York itself.
Dustin Hildebrand met fellow humanitarian, Steve Klinedinst, at the rehabilitation center Colonial House while working third shift. The two quickly became friends, and during their down time they started to discuss their respective desires to be more active in the community.
“I’ve always been big on activism, but I just never knew how I could participate in a healthy way. I used to just complain about the trash [on the streets] constantly because a few years ago it was real bad. Enough of my friends just got so tired of me complaining about it that they said, ‘If it is such a problem then just take care of it yourself.’ So, I did,” said Klinedinst.
Klinedinst began picking up garbage in his neighborhood alone. He decided to ask Hilldebrand if he would want to join him in the litter collection during one of their shifts. Hildebrand enthusiastically accepted, and the duo started to put their ambitions to work. Soon, Dustin and Steve wanted to increase the size of their impact past the few blocks that they were tending.
“We did it a couple times on Monday mornings once we got off from third shift. Soon we were [inviting people using] on our own Facebook accounts, but not a lot of people could make it because it was Monday morning. So, we switched it to Sundays, and it became a group thing. Then somebody suggested that we make a non-profit out of it,” said Hildebrand.
The solidification of the non-profit status really aided the philanthropist group in their infancy. During their first year they achieved an immense amount, but the greatest accomplishment was receiving control over the Garden of Hope in York.
“We really want to improve the garden this year; we want to improve our understanding of gardening to do so. We hope to better execute this year,” said Klinedinst.
In order to better execute, Klinedinst and Hildebrand both are encouraging more people to volunteer with them.
“Eventually, we want to start up more chapters. That’s the long term goal, but right now what we need are more volunteers who want to help, so that we can do more than just trash collection and the Garden,” said Klinedinst.
Punks for Positivity wants to participate more in graffiti clean up, river cleansing and assisting food trucks, as these social reformers pursues their ultimate zenith .
“Our overall goal is to make an impact, and better as many lives as possible,” said Hildebrand.
For more information please visit facebook.com/Punksforpositivity.