On Sunday morning, Dec. 19, 2021, about 70 volunteers from the group ASEZ WAO gathered in Burien’s Puget Sound Park, and removed litter from the park and neighboring streets.

Being fired up by Councilmember Kevin Schilling’s signature pep talks, the group collected their vests, gloves, and garbage bags, and proceed to carry out the cleanup in three phases. In the first phase, the young volunteers fanned out along the east side of Puget Sound Park and swept the park from east to west. In the second phase, they repeated the formation across Hazel Valley Park. In the final phase, the group divided into five teams and picked up litter along the streets between 1st Ave. S. and 4th Ave. SW. By 12:00 P.M., they had collected 435.5 lbs. of trash, including 37 garbage bags and some large debris. With 69 volunteers dedicating an hour and a half each, a total of 103.5 person-hours were contributed to the project.

ASEZ WAO, which stands for “Save the Earth from A to Z: We are One Family,” is an international volunteer organization run by young professionals who attend the World Mission Society Church of God. Local members of the organization teamed up with Burien City Councilnember Kevin Schilling to identify the neighborhood of Puget Sound Park as an area of need in the community.

“We have a lot of parks in the city of Burien, and Burien is an under-resourced community. We do not have the number of municipal resources that we need to ensure proper maintenance and upkeep of all of our facilities and parks,” Schilling said. “Having a group like ASEZ WAO out here to clean up the park and keep it sustainable and nourish it is a vital, vital service to the city.”

When asked what inspired the volunteers to travel from all over the state to take part in the clean-up, Michael Severance, president of ASEZ WAO’s Washington chapter, said:

“Every time we do a cleanup, we see people walking by with smiles on their faces, people honking as they drive by. We know that, as we do it, it’s giving someone hope and it’s giving someone some positivity in their life.”

The event was part of the global organization’s ongoing “Terrestrial Ecosystem Protection” initiative and marked the 6602nd Worldwide Cleanup Campaign for ASEZ WAO’s Green Earth project.

“6602 times is a lot of times, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon,” Schilling added. “This is a dedication and commitment to caring for creation, caring for something that’s bigger than us, which is the planet. I think that’s inspiring for all people—not just members of the Church of God—but certainly for people who are driving by and walking through the park today and seeing the work of the volunteers here. This is an opportunity to look and be inspired by everybody here.”

The Burien city councilmember invited the group to maintain their relationship with the City of Burien and keep coming back to help in the community. He also encouraged other organizations to “Don’t be shy!” about reaching out to work with the group of young professionals in the future.

Below are photos from the event, courtesy ASEZ WAO:

ASEZ WAO is a global volunteer organization led by young professionals who attend the World Mission Society Church of God. The World Mission Society Church of God is a faith-based, non-profit organization that strives to spread the love of Christ through beautiful deeds. Since its establishment in 1964, the Church of God has grown to more than 8,000 locations in more than 175 countries. For its contribution to the welfare of society, the Church of God has received numerous recognitions throughout the world, including the President’s Call to Service Award in the United States multiple times over the past decade, the Presidential Citation in South Korea, and the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in the United Kingdom.

For more information about ASEZ WAO, visit asezwao.org, and for more information about the Church of God, visit watv.org.

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