Young People Showing Off Green Thumbs

Drive by the medians along Ocean Springs and you're bound to catch a group of teenagers planting and pruning. This summer, the city won a $25,000 Urban Youth Corps grant to hire five young people and a supervisor to spruce-up the green spaces.

Josh Dudte is the project supervisor.

"We do pruning, mulching, weeding, and new plantings, just general landscape. We're just trying to beautify the main thoroughfares through the city."

This is Willis Rivers' second summer working for the city.

"I got in shape. I like working for Josh. Plus, I'm making money."

Willis and his landscaping partner Justin Simmons have blossomed into responsible employees.

"I appreciate how hard the work is, and just don't take it for granted," Simmons said.

But these guys are used to getting a work-out. They're football players.

"Some of my friends, they make fun of me sometimes because I plant flowers and plant trees and everything," Rivers said.

"They say we're too big to be messing with flowers. But it doesn't bother me," Simmons said.

One of the most visible landscaping projects will be at the corner Washington Avenue and Highway 90. The teens will help plant flowers around the new welcome sign into the city of Ocean Springs. So soon, everyone will get to see the teens' beautiful handiwork.

"When we plant stuff like trees and plants, it makes me feel good out in the community, saying I did that," Willis said.

Participants in the program are between the ages of 16 and 25. This is the fourth year the city of Ocean Springs has received the summer work grant.