On a beautiful Earth Day, 2024, a group of passionate volunteers gathered along the banks of the St. Johns River in Sanford, FL. These six individuals, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Group of Orlando, joined over 170 others for a city-wide river cleanup effort. This month-long initiative was organized by the St. Johns Riverkeeper, a non-profit dedicated to protecting this vital waterway and keeping the river and its surrounding ecosystem healthy for future generations.

Armed with garbage bags and pick-up pinchers, the Sai volunteers made their way along the downtown Sanford Park shoreline, clearing up any thrash they came upon. Blessed with perfect weather, the day was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and a shared commitment to environmental care.

Their dedication caught the eye of local news reporter, Destiny Wiggins. She spoke with several members of the Sri Sathya Sai Group, who shared their motivations for giving up their precious day off to dedicate their time and energy to clearing the river shoreline. David Yoder, President of Southeast Region of SSSIO-USA, stated that environmental care was a core part of the SSSIO mission. They were committed to saving the environment, including a national goal of planting a million trees. Another member, Maria Graham emphasized that cleanups like this were crucial, especially since the oceans and waterways are constantly under threat from pollution. Another Sai Group volunteer, Grace Hamilton, spoke about the deeper connection she feels with nature through such activities. She said, “I care about this planet more than anything. We need to everything we can to protect it.”

The Sai Group's participation in the St. Johns River cleanup is an example of the impact a dedicated group of volunteers can have. By working together, we can ensure a cleaner and healthier future for our planet.