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
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like