About 50 students spend their spring break cleaning up blighted properties in Douglass

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's a different type of spring break for some students in Memphis.

Instead of sitting back, they're working to make their community better.

About 50 students are spending their spring break cleaning up property where windows are boarded up.

They say it makes their Douglass community a safer place to live.

The students know the impact blighted property creates in their community. They walk by abandoned homes everyday on their way to school.

"They talk about how they want it to be safer and they don't want no harm to they families, so we try to board up the houses and what not and make it better," said Jerico Harris a Douglass High School student.

During spring break this week students from five high schools, including Douglass High, are cleaning up five properties, all of which are known as crime hot spots.

"We each got assigned abandoned houses and we made sure we measured the doors and the windows so when we board them up later on and we paint them, they look more inviting," said Mosiah Sherrill, a Douglass High School senior.

"Douglass used to be a thriving community when I was growing up in this neighborhood, and due to crime, our youth are losing the vision so our mission, our goal is to revitalize, redevelop this neighborhood back to a viable community that it used to be," said project organizer Frederick Lee.

Lee said this project is about more than cleaning up properties. It's about leadership and teaching students to stay away from crime.

Students are taking that advice.

"It's part of being leader," said Harris.

Memphis council members and other city leaders said they're excited to see young people finding ways to make their communities safer.

Students partnered with The Heights CDC Young Life and Streets Ministries.

Others schools involved include Kingsbury High, Central High and Christian Brothers High.

They will do this all week.

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