Councilman Lauds Citizens’ Group for Jackson Park Clean-Up

ELIZABETH — Councilman Manuel R. Grova of Elizabeth has commended a local non-profit organization, the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) for voluntarily cleaning up Jackson Park every week since July. The volunteer clean-up effort continues on Jan. 15 at 3 p.m.

“Since the ladies of the Women’s Federation for World Peace started coming to the park on Sunday afternoons in July, it has become a much cooler venue for citizens, and I want to do my part,” said Grova. “The men and women who volunteer for this effort are showing ownership of their little corner of the universe, and that’s a good thing. The long-term result of this kind of effort is that crime will go down, property values will rise, and Elizabeth, New Jersey will become a place where more people will want to live. The neighborhood will be cleaner, and all of the residents appreciate the efforts of the ladies and can now feel proud of their park.”

Since July of 2011, Sara R. Franklin, a seven-year resident of Elizabeth and president of Union County’s WFWP has met the call of Councilman Grova for volunteers to help create a cleaner and healthier environment in Union County. Franklin, along with other representatives of WFWP, have been leading Sunday clean-up sessions in Jackson Park for the last five months. Her efforts to make Jackson Park and Union County more “family-oriented” has caused the clean-up group to more than double from an initial six volunteers in July 2011 to fifteen volunteers in January 2012.

A highlight of the latest clean-up session, which took place on January 8, was the presence of Councilman Grova himself, who had arrived to support the volunteers. That day, many of the volunteers wore T-shirts emblazoned with the WFWP logo and a mission statement that read: “Women working together to establish a culture of heart in the family, community, nation, and world in order to achieve genuine and sustainable peace under God.”

Franklin, originally from Argentina, was blessed in marriage to Darryl Franklin in 1982. She has been living in Elizabeth, New Jersey since 2004, and is a cancer survivor and the proud mother of two sons, Daniel Kwang-Ju Franklin, 20, and Nicolas Jin-Pyung Franklin, 16.

Also present at the rally were Denneze Nelson, President of WFWP in New Jersey, and Emiljun Rapada, representative from the Family Federation for World Peace.

“The event that took place in the park represented what the WFWP is all about,” said Nelson. “Peace through service and living for others. This is exactly what our founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, lives and teaches.”

Rapada said, “Coming together as a community centering upon a good purpose is the foundation of peace and prosperity. This kind of positive change has tremendous impact to oneself and the community it serves.”

According to Nelson and Franklin, the park clean-up project will continue to take place on Sundays at 3 p.m. during cold weather and at 5:30 p.m. during warmer weather. Franklin hopes to continue this service in other parks in Elizabeth.

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