A volunteer picking up litter

'Imagine what we could accomplish if we all committed to 20 minutes every week to beautifying our city,' – Rola Hayek, volunteer

May 20, 2022 - Armed with a litter picker and sporting a high-visibility vest, you can often find Rola Hayek wandering the picturesque trails of Fleetwood Park, picking up litter and keeping her eyes open for any safety hazards she comes across. The 33-year-old Surrey resident takes great pride in giving back and helping to keep her neighbourhood clean and safe. 

For the second year in a row, Rola is one of many people who have taken on the ’20-Minute Clean-Up Challenge’ issued by the City, encouraging residents to commit to picking up litter in their community for 20 minutes each and every week. 

“I walk around and look for litter,” she said. “If I see anything dangerous, I report it on the MyCity app. Giving back to the community makes me happy. And it’s nice to be able to do something beneficial for the environment because we have planted trees as well,” she said of her volunteer experience. 

Last year, during the pandemic, Rola began volunteering with the City of Surrey when there weren’t many opportunities available for volunteers due to COVID restrictions. Over the summer of 2021, Rola spent countless hours roaming her local neighbourhood in search of litter to collect and safety hazards to report.

This year, she got an early start in April and plans to continue through the summer.

“Helping in my community gives me a sense of purpose and pride,” she says. 

When she’s not volunteering, you can often find Rola helping her family, working or reading.

Prior to volunteering through ‘Love Where You Live,’ Rola spent time volunteering with Surrey RCMP and Delta Police in 2012-2014. She did various administrative duties, supported Speed Watch and Anti-Theft Campaigns, as well as other crime prevention initiatives. 

Rola says helping her community continuously motivates her to give back and motivate others to be a part of something meaningful. 

“I love volunteering, and I love helping people. It makes me feel good,” she said. “I hope I can encourage others by being an example of what a ‘Love Where You Live’ volunteer can do to better our community. Imagine what we could accomplish if we all committed to 20 minutes every week to beautifying our city.”

The 20-Minute Cleanup Challenge is a volunteer opportunity that challenges residents to commit to cleaning their neighbourhood each week. Participants can track their hours and receive graduation volunteer hour credits during the campaign period. Litter pickers, bags and training will be provided.

Also, part of this year’s Love Where You Live campaign is a Neighbourhood Cleanup Registration program that supports community, businesses and school groups wanting to organize a group cleanup. The City of Surrey will provide all the supplies needed and will pick up the waste collected. There will be a prize draw every month for eligible cleanup registrations. 

In 2021, Surrey residents contributed more than 1,700 volunteer hours through Love Where Your Live. Residents participated in more than 40 park cleanups, and more than 200 residents took on the ‘20-Minute Cleanup Challenge.’

Learn how you can get involved in Love Where You Live.