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Shelby County mayor’s Fight Blight Team works to keep county clean, provide opportunities for young people

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tuesday was the first day on the job for 100 young people working to keep Shelby County clean.

They’re part of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s Fight Blight Team.

While the teens spend the summer working, they’re also learning life lessons.

Walking the streets of South Memphis Tuesday morning, trash bags in hand is a group of young people.

17-year-old Phedra Brooks is one of them, Tuesday morning was the first day of her first job.

"I thought it was a good way to clean up the city," she said.

She signed up to be part of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s Fight Blight Team because she wants to make a difference.

"I really hate when people litter. I am on the side of the road, and I see people throw stuff out. I get upset because it’s stupid you live here," explained Brooks.

She also wants to make some money.

Brooks is one of 100 young people ages 14 to 24 hired to work until the end of July, fighting blight throughout Memphis and Shelby County.

Teens make $9 an hour, nine supervisors over age 21 make $12 per hour.

We were there when one group was picked up in South Memphis by their shift leader.

"I thought it was a good idea to get involved with the summer kids and the summer programs and stuff like that because I, myself was involved in the summer programs when I was in high school," said Lakisha Stigger, a shift leader.

WREG walked with the group as they picked up papers, bags, and bottles. It was all trash all found on Cedric Moore’s South Memphis street, something he’s glad to see.  He believes the students will get more than just a paycheck.

"The young people are actively doing something to improve the community, they see themselves doing something to improve the community and we as the community we should respond, we appreciate you!” he exclaimed.

Brooks, who will be a senior at Whitehaven High School this fall, hopes the job prepares for her future.

"I want to go to college and be a physical therapist for an NBA team," she said.