While most of Killeenites spent their Sunday afternoon with family dinners or preparing for the week ahead; a group of teenagers spent a few hours beautifying the city.
Approximately 15 Youth Advisory Commission members completed a community beautification project in a drainage culvert along Linda Spur.
For close to three hours, the group — with paintbrush and paint in hand — covered close to 350 feet of concrete wall covered with profanity and vulgar images.
The pact were joined by the Killeen Code Enforcement Department, who collaborated with the organization in finding areas that needed graffiti removal.
Code Enforcement Officer Cary Trabal said the paint and materials were provided by Sherwin-Williams Paint Store in Killeen.
Among the group were siblings Mark and Markeisha Thomas; both are students at Early College High School.
“It’s great to do something out in the community as we are making our voices heard. We want the community to know that we care about our city,” Markeisha Thomas said.
Her brother agreed.
“I am all about helping. Whatever I can do for my community, I am there,” he said.
According to YAC director, Levallois Hamilton, the project is credited to the organization’s social media manager and historian Andrea Cavanagh.
Cavanagh said the idea came from Austin’s iconic Graffiti Park, which closed down early this year to move to a new location.
“We thought, why not beautify our city in a similar way? Take down this down and have a way to express and soon showcase our own art on a clean slate,” she said. “The park was an inspiration for us, so when I talked with Mr. Hamilton about the idea; it took off from there.”
She added that Linda Spur is just one of many removals the organization will tackle. This will be the first time in 10 years since YAC had a graffiti removal program.
“The students are really focus on being out there and doing things that are impacting the community. It’s great to see them getting back to the roots of YAC,” Hamilton said.
Since 1993, YAC’s mission is to bring young people in grades eight through twelfth together to make a positive impact in the community. For decades, the group have developed leadership skills, served as positive influences among their peers and create meaningful change in Killeen.
In the 2018-19 school year alone, YAC has participated in about 32 projects ranging from community service to meeting with elected officials on issues that affect Bell County youth. There are approximately 102 members in the commission.