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 or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
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
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like