Youths start cleanup group to help homeless in North Las Vegas

Updated May 20, 2018 - 11:07 pm

Last winter, 8-year-old Theajion Grigsby gave blankets to Mr. Dezz, a homeless man who lives on the streets of his North Las Vegas neighborhood. Last month, Mr. Dezz was severely beaten while he slept in the open.

Theajion — Theo to his friends and family — and his grandmother Katt Smith started a GoFundMe campaign to buy a tent for Mr. Dezz, but after two weeks they hadn’t raised a dollar.

But Theo and his friends have started a group, Youth Helping Hands, to clean up trash around apartment complexes and businesses, and they accept donations. His grandparents supervise and schedule the cleanups, and the group uses the money raised to buy tents and supplies for homeless people in the area.

“I didn’t like the homeless to have to be out here with no food or place to sleep,” Theo said. “I want them to have tents and locks, so they don’t have to be cold and they can be safe.”

The North Las Vegas kids met Saturday behind the NAPA Auto Parts store at 3274 Civic Center Drive, near Cheyenne Avenue, donned bright yellow gloves and got to work.

They did a great job, too, according to the store’s assistant manager, Chris Boyd. Smith had contacted Boyd about the cleanup project to get it approved.

“And it is desperately needed,” Boyd said. “I wish more people would follow their lead, because this neighborhood needs all the help it can get.”

There was a lot of playing around and a bit of bickering, but Youth Helping Hands managed to clear out the garbage and raise a little over $200 in the process.

“I want them to learn that instead of killing their neighborhood, they’ve got to clean it up,” Smith said.

Theo’s grandpa, Lee “Turtle” Thompson, fixes bikes and skateboards and anything else “within reason” for neighborhood kids.

“You can’t just tell kids what to do; you’ve got to show them,” he said. “And a lot of these kids, they’ve got great families, good people, but some of them work all day and they can’t be there 24/7.”

Juana Rodriguez is one of those parents. She said her son, 13-year-old Martin Zamora, was excited about joining Youth Helping Hands. She stopped by Saturday to watch her son and his friends at work.

“It’s good for them. They’re helping the community, and it distracts them from doing things they’re not supposed to do,” Rodriguez said.

All the kids call Thompson “Papu,” and Smith is “Grandma.” Smith, a mother of 17 and a grandmother to 12 more, is decidedly the boss. The kids play around with Thompson, laughing and joining in on his jokes, but when Smith has something to say, they all stop and listen.

She tells them about the importance of education, family and community. They’ve got it down pat; when Smith speaks, the kids all jump in and finish her sentences.

Theo wants to go to college and play professional football, so he can buy a house for every member of his family. Nalaya Virgil, 9, dreams of being a basketball star and doing the same thing. Preshay Harris, 8, said his future would involve eating two burgers and three hot dogs.

The kids finished up just in time for lunch and cooled off with a quick water fight, grabbing bottles of water out of a giant pot that Smith uses to cook meals for the homeless. She joined in, too, getting up from her motorized wheelchair to dump ice water over Nalaya’s head.

Then they headed off to Smith’s house, where they would get those burgers and hot dogs.

As Smith turned to follow, Theo jumped onto the back of her wheelchair, wearing the giant pot as a hat.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like