Elma Goodwin & Avengers Are On A Mission For A Cleaner DeSoto
DESOTO – It was just a few weeks ago that DeSoto resident Elma Goodwin decided she had seen enough trash in her neighborhood.
Goodwin is a long-time resident whose children were educated in the DeSoto ISD. Her family arrived in DeSoto in the mid-eighties from East Texas. She has been active in the City of DeSoto on boards, commissions, HOA, sorority, etc. She is also the recipient of the Barack Obama Citizen Volunteer Award.
Living in Silver Creek Estates, Goodwin organized a group called the Silver Creek Estates Trash Avengers aka “SCE Trash Avengers”.
Goodwin said organizing was relatively easy. She sent an email letter to homeowners asking for volunteers. Volunteers were asked to wear masks and the street was marked for seating that was socially distanced.
“The official inception date for the Avengers was August 17, 2020 where we conducted our organizing on the street in front of my house,” Goodwin explained. “We adhered to COVID-19 safety practices and 18 people volunteered prior to the meeting.”
There was even one person who saw the activity going on and came to see what was happening joining the group on the spot.
Now there are 20 Avengers along with the board. Goodwin said she is overjoyed by the response.
SCE Trash Avengers Making A Difference In Their Community
The SCE Trash Avengers were originally born because Goodwin said due to COVID-19 she was forced to move her walking outside. Over time she said she noticed a serious uptick in the amount of trash along the perimeter and interior of her subdivision and throughout the city.
“I also began to see concerns of trash discussed on NextDoor,” she said. “As an HOA Board member, I discussed at the board meetings and at the Mayor’s 360 Meeting. All agreed there was a problem and began to discuss the issue.”
Even more to the point, Goodwin said it was the late John Lewis who really re-inspired her with his “See something, say something, Do something.”
And so, began the idea in Goodwin’s head of mobilizing neighbors to combat the trash problem. She shared the idea with her fellow board members and the Avengers became a reality.
The scope of what the Trash Avengers would like to get done includes making the group organic where volunteers are asked to continuously monitor the blocks in which they live for trash. They are also asked to keep an eye on the entire community.
“We look for things as small as cigarette butts and as large as lawn-chair pillows,” she said. “The type of trash is far reaching PPE, personal feminine items, condoms and packaging, clothes, chair cushions, bottles, soda and beer cans, paper, restaurant carry-out containers, cigarette butts, etc.”
So, her idea is to avenge anything that does not enhance the beauty of the community.
“I will also add that we continue to look to homeowners for support by asking them to pick up trash that is in eyeshot of their homes,” Goodwin said. “Our main goal is to stop those who are trashing by reminding them of their personal responsibility.”
Future goals of the Trash Avengers
The future goals of the Trash Avengers include continuing to avenge trash, look for ways to discourage trashing, put up “Do Not Trash” signage and assess, process, and make changes as needed to realize these goals.
“DeSoto has 55,000 residents and with the increase of trash, city staff simply cannot handle the volume of trash,” Goodwin explained. “As residents, we must take some personal responsibility to first stop trashing and second, when there is trash, assume responsibility for removing it quickly, even if you did not put it there.”
The current HOA Board are long timers in the community in Silver Creek Estates. Goodwin said they understand the importance of a pristine neighborhood to home values, living standards, and overall impact on the City.
“When it comes to DeSoto, I am like a mother hen—very protective,” she said. “I love and want the best for DeSoto.”
At the first Trash Avenger clean-up DeSoto Mayor Curtistene McCowan even dropped by to express her support of and appreciation for the effort.
“DeSoto needs you,” Goodwin concluded. “This is something that you can do with minimum effort but great reward. The Avengers are here to help you begin the journey.”
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