Sweet 16 and help­ing her com­mu­nity

South Taranaki Star - - PROPERTY - JANE MATTHEWS

Ja­nis Baker has de­cided she wants to give back to the com­mu­nity she has been a part of her whole life.

How­ever, that life has not been par­tic­u­larly long be­cause Baker is only 16 years old.

She is based in Kaponga and re­cently spent a Satur­day clean­ing up the com­mu­nity in an event she or­gan­ised. She is also a vol­un­teer fire­fighter.

‘‘A group of us got to­gether and picked up rub­bish around Kaponga,’’ Baker said.

‘‘We had a map of the town and every­one high­lighted where they’d done, and we did the whole town.’’

Baker or­gan­ised Clean Up Kaponga Day for Keep New Zealand Beau­ti­ful Week af­ter some­one men­tioned the idea to her.

‘‘I posted it on the Kaponga No­tice­board orig­i­nally and I went and put posters up around town,’’ she said.

Thirty-eight peo­ple took part in the event, which half-filled 15 bags with rub­bish from within the perime­ter of the 50kmh zone.

‘‘Be­cause the weather wasn’t very good I was won­der­ing if peo­ple were go­ing to come,’’ Baker said. ‘‘But it went re­ally well.’’

She said all ages took part in the clean up. ’’There were mums with four or five kids, and other par­ents with their kids, and they all added up.’’

The par­tic­i­pants were also given a sausage siz­zle as a thank you - or­gan­ised by Baker.

‘‘I went through and asked a

‘‘She's a good as­set to the Kaponga com­mu­nity.’’

Kaponga Fire Sta­tion deputy chief Todd Kells

cou­ple of the lo­cal busi­nesses if they could spon­sor some sausages and bread and stuff,’’ she said.

Busi­nesses, ser­vices and lo­cals came to­gether and gave sausages, bread, marg­er­ine and sauce.

The Kaponga Fire Sta­tion, where Baker vol­un­teers, gave their bar­be­cue to use.

Baker has been vol­un­teer­ing since April and is thor­oughly en­joy­ing it.

Kaponga Fire Sta­tion deputy chief Todd Kells said Baker fit­ted in well with every­one - ‘‘she’s just part of the team’’.

Kells said he had no­ticed Baker was very com­mu­nity-based per­son.

‘‘She’s a good as­set to the Kaponga com­mu­nity,’’ he said. ‘‘She’s a pretty con­sci­en­tious young girl.’’

Baker proved this when she talked about her pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘Say if the sirens were to go up now, I’d go down, I’d say ‘sorry, I’m go­ing to go’,’’ she said

JANE MATTHEWS/STUFF

Ja­nis Baker, 16, is a com­mu­nity-based young girl.

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