Community groups come together to clean up Hammond School

May 18, 2021

With the help of many dedicated volunteers on Saturday, May 15, Ethel E. Hammond School in Onset was given some much-needed care and attention. 

The volunteers picked up debris, raked sticks and leaves, pulled up old and broken garden supports and worked to pull weeds that had grown intertwined with the fence.

Although the clean-up effort started at 10 a.m., members of various community groups — including the Wareham Tigers, The Bridge Church, Community Youth Empowerment and Onset Kidz Block — were still hard at work by noon on Saturday.

“We’ve had a huge turnout,” said Wareham Tigers President Jared Chadwick. “We’re trying to clean up the leaves, [and] the overgrowth, as you can see, it’s all through the fence.”

Jowaun Gamble of Community Youth Empowerment said he estimated the plants by the fence had been left to grow, unchecked, for at least 10 years.

Together, the groups at the clean-up event have proposed a centralized hub for community youth programs at the Hammond School as a replacement for the Boys and Girls Club. The church would help facilitate the group by establishing a nonprofit LLC called “the Hammond Community Youth and Education Center at the Bridge.”

“We’re just trying to show that we actually care about what’s going to happen to this building,” Gamble said. “We have a plan and a mission and a part of that is making sure that [the school] looks the part. And it’s important that all of our programs are unified and working on this.”

The cleanup was organized by Pastor Lisa Tavares of The Bridge Church in September 2020, long before the groups began pursuing the school. By her estimate, close to 40 people had come to help out.

“I’m super excited,” she said. “It’s really awesome. We want to be able to provide for the youth in the community and keep it at this spot, because it’s a central location.”

So many people volunteered to help out that the group was able to extend its efforts beyond the school grounds and nearby park to other locations in Onset — the Onset Bandshell, Lopes Park and the gazebo. 

It wasn’t all work and no play, however. Pastor Dave Ferrari of the Bridge Church ordered pizza for lunch. Shayla Tavares — formerly of the Wareham Boys and Girls Club, and founder of the group Onset Kidz Block — passed out popsicles to help people cool off.

The groups have put together a petition and anyone who wishes to show their support for the proposed “Hammond Community Youth and Education Center at the Bridge” is invited to sign. It can be found: 

As of May 18, 343 individuals had signed the petition.