By Heather Pilkington, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
One 10-year-old girl with one small voice and a few friends began to make a giant impact in the community.
Victoria Fuhrmann (Tori), like many kids her age, said she spends time watching the Disney channel. Only Tori gained something from the television station — she noticed the campaign Disney channel runs called ‘Friends for Change.’
Tori’s mom, Chasity Furhmann, said her children were inspired by the ‘Friends for Change’ show on the Disney channel, which encouraged her daughter Tori to organize a kid-laden event to help with recycling efforts to and pick up trash in places around her neighborhood.
But Tori also got her encouragement elsewhere.
On the 9/11 anniversary, the Furhmanns watched a video put on by ActionAmerica.com. The video discussed how firefighters from New York travel the country to help with natural disasters, and work together to bring the people affected into the healing process.
Chasity said this video inspired her children especially, Tori.
Tori told her mom, “We could start that right here – we can pick up trash on the streets,” Chasity said.
“it went from that idea to having nine friends show up to help with the yard,” Tori’s mom explained. “Then (Friday), 10 kids and two parents helped clean the street, and today we had all of these kids and the fire department and the police department stop by and show their support.”
According to Disney’s ‘Friends for Change’ website, the program is about taking steps together with one’s friends and family to make a positive impact on the world and the people and animals that live in it.
Tori, her brother McCaleb, sister Micah and about a dozen kids from her neighborhood gathered Saturday with rakes, trash bags and gloves to clean the trash and excess weeds from a vacant lot on the corner of Scott St. and Johnson St.
“I see a lot of kids helping others, so I felt like it was a good thing for me to do to,” Tori said.
Chasity invited the Gainesville Fire and Police Departments to join in on their efforts. Three Gainesville firefighters from Station No. 3 came out to support the kids in their actions.
“This just shows the influence that Disney has on kids today,” Gainesville Fire Captain Randy Prestage said. “So many kids would rather be somewhere else, inside watching TV. or playing video games. This is a great thing (Tori) is doing to help clean up our community and make it safer for the kids waiting on the bus.”
The Fuhrmanns have big plans to keep this idea in motion, so every week the family, along with the children of the neighborhood, are going to clean one bus stop in town.
“I am going to contact the bus barn to find which stops need the most attention first,” Chasity said.
She also said they are going to take nominations for those who are unable to take care of their yard because of illness or other reasons.
“Love is an action word,” Chasity said. “If you love your community, get out and take care of it. If you love your friends get out and help them. If you love your family do the same thing. It starts as small as helping with the groceries, picking up the trash or walking the dog,
“We just want to put that back into our kids that they should believe in themselves. They are our future in America.”
Nominations for the yard clean-up can be given to Chasity at (940) 580-3795.
(© Staff photo by Heather Pilkington)
Clean with envy
Victoria Furhmann (left) and a Gainesville firefighter Kenneth Watson fill a trash bag with garbage and grass at the corner of Scott and Johnson Streets on Saturday. Fuhrmann was joined by almost a dozen kids from her neighborhood to help turn her idea of having kids clean up the community into a reality.