2015 Project Front Yard Award Winners!

Last year, Project Front Yard kicked off its initiative with a ceremony to award six recipients who've played a part in beautifying and cleaning Lafayette. UL Lafayette President T. Joe Savoie, the Better Block Cameron organizers, Charlie and Jan Wyatt (heads of the Bayou Vermilion Preservation Association), the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, River Ranch Development and I were recognized for our contributions.

The awards were intended to be an annual event, and yesterday afternoon, the new rounds of winners were announced and recognized!

This year, the recipients were awarded in categories: Best in Education, Best in Cleanliness, Best in Beautification, and Best Overall Effort.


  • NeunerPate law firm received Best in Cleanliness for their beautification project of the Veterans Affairs Clinic and War Memorial on July 1.
  • Pastor Ken Lazard of Destiny of Faith Church was honored for Best in Beautification for his work in revitalizing the Truman area neighborhood, by engaging more than 100 volunteers over two weekends to spruce up a local cemetery, clean up trash and cut tall grass on otherwise blighted properties.
  • ReCover Acadiana, an initiative of The705, was awarded Best in Education for their partnership with Project Front Yard on the storm drain cleanliness awareness campaign, “Where the River Meets the Road.” The campaign includes dozens of decals placed near storm drains throughout the community, educating children and adults alike on the connection of storm drains to the local watershed.
  • ESA teacher Sandra Thompson received Best Overall Project Front Yard Effort. This award is given to a community partner who goes above and beyond. Ms. Thompson is a kindergarten teacher who encouraged one of her students, Amelie Gomez, to write a letter to Project Front Yard when she expressed a desire to get involved with community cleanliness. Along with the school’s administrative leadership and Project Front Yard, Amelie took the lead in creating a 20 minute documentary on how trash ends up in our local waterways and affects the local ecosystem. Ms. Thompson is also working to develop a curriculum for local educators’ use in the classroom in teaching children about the watershed and life cycles of litter in our rivers.

Mayor Joey Durel stresed the importance of the education component, saying during the presentation, "I've said before that Project Front Yard is not a litter effort; it is a cultural change initiative. And we can't have a cultural change initiative unless kids learn in school and pressure their parents to act."

As someone who learned about recycling and conservation as a child (more than 20 years ago), I wholeheartedly agree with the need to educate students, so they can grow up practicing and sharing their knowledge with others. I have yet to meet Amelie, but I already love her and her dedication to cleanliness and conservation, and I know that having more children like her will tremendously help our communities now, in 20 years, and even further into the future.

It's so exciting to see this year's crop of winners, learn how they've impacted our community, and help them continue their missions throughout this year. Congratulations, everyone!

More information at The Daily Advertiser.

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