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Graffiti cleanup transforms Harrisburg walls, mindset - abc27 WHTM

Graffiti cleanup transforms Harrisburg walls, mindset

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

A platoon of graffiti eliminators armed with paint came to work in Harrisburg.

For several hours, a few dozen volunteers transformed blight into beauty.

American Graffiti as a movie: a classic. However, when American graffiti plagues city walls: not so much. Allstate Insurance and Harrisburg's Police Athletic League partnered to hold an event to eliminate blight by painting over graffiti and covering up trash.

At the intersection of 7th and Woodbine, ironically, the words "urban decay" were spray painted over the wall. That is where 16 year-old Endrea Reid was found with a paint roller in hand.

"I'm just tired of seeing the same ol' thing," he said, "because I feel as if though I keep seeing the same negativity. Then, nothing's going to change."

Reid's frustration was felt by many of the people who got splattered with paint while working to beautify the city. It was a sight to see insurance agents side-by-side with city youth as they worked toward a common goal.

Reid was outspoken most of the day. He encouraged others to do more, but when you ask him, he didn't think anything of it.

"I don't feel as if I'm a role model," he said. "I feel as though I'm just doing what people should've been doing for the longest [time]."

It's funny. The more Reid spoke, the more he started to sound familiar. Then, we heard him yell, "Mommy!"

The woman who got out of the vehicle was none other than Harrisburg councilwoman Sandra Reid, who is often outspoken about trash and city blight. She has organized several cleanup events.

Another funny thing happened in the presence of the Reid family: a positive attitude began to spread.

Leah Chivaverini said she loves to volunteer, but her mood improved when she finally saw results.

"It's really rewarding to see, ya know, what we did that really helped the community," she said. "It's a good feeling."

Even her sister Nicole was having a blast, despite getting a little paint in her hair.

"It was just flying all over when you're rolling," said Nicole. "It shows that I worked hard."

They sure did. Not only transforming the city's appearance, but a mindset.

"[We're] trying to get rid of the negativity around the city because we're trying to bounce back from where we've been for the last ... ever," said Reid.

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