BARNEGAT, NJ - Just after Earth Day this year, incoming Barnegat High School freshmen Norah Hansen and Jenna Marcy came up with a plan. Concerned with protecting the planet, the two decided to start off local. Their “Adopt a Street Program” appears to be off to a good beginning.

Yesterday, Hansen and Marcy presented their ideas at the Township Committee Meeting. They credited Dunfee School Counselor with Michele Cucinotta for helping them put the process into motion.

The “Adopt a Street Program” focuses on community involvement from youth, adults, and local businesses. Prospective volunteers complete applications indicating the streets they want to adopt. Minors must have adult approval.

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In a well-prepared visual presentation, Hansen and Marcy explained further. “The idea is to preserve the overall appearance of Barnegat,” said the students. “We’re asking for a one-year commitment for volunteers to clean up trash three times a year in their designated streets.”

School Counselor Cucinotta shared how Hansen and Marcy’s efforts caught the attention of government authorities. “Our Superintendent of Schools, Mayor, and Police Chief work well together,” said Cucinotta. “They support good things for our community.”

Program Met with Accolades

Attendees at the Township Committee Meeting applauded the concept of the “Adopt a Street Program.” More than half a dozen students were on hand to show their support. All plan to join in the efforts to protect Barnegat from the negative impacts of improperly disposed of garbage.

Meanwhile, adult members of the community publicly addressed Hansen and Marcy and volunteered their participation. “I already walk the streets where I live and pick up things,” said John Gennarelli. “It’s amazing how some don’t see the need to take care of where we live.”

Some Areas Already Cleaned Up

Although there’s been no formal adoption of particular areas, teams have already cleaned up areas. Residents may notice improvements along Gunning River Road, Barnegat Boulevard and the Bay Beach.

“Our goal is to create an eco-friendly town,” shared Hansen and Marcy, almost in unison. “We know it can be done.”

Barnegat Mayor Al Cirulli applauded the students for their initiatives and offered the Township’s support.

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and the Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing service.