As I was driving home from this year’s Annual Franchise Convention, I began reflecting on the information I had learned from the workshops and thinking of how I could start to build my brand identity. I quickly decided that it was time for me to become more involved in my community like I once was through high school and college. Scrolling through the upcoming events in my community on social media, I decided that sponsoring the 2018 Bayou Lafourche Cleanup was the perfect place to start.
The Bayou Lafourche Cleanup was first organized in 2012 by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), a program that focuses on the preservation, protection, and restoration of the area of wetlands between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers in southeast Louisiana. They began the Bayou Lafourche Cleanup in an effort to improve the water quality of Bayou Lafourche, which provides drinking water to approximately 300,000 residents spanning four parishes. I volunteered the year the event began as the reigning Miss Thibodaux XXXVII to work the volunteer sign-in table for the event alongside a couple of other local queens.
I believed that sponsoring the 2018 Bayou Lafourche Cleanup was a perfect place to begin building my brand identity. I set out to show that I, Karlie Adams, Jani-King Franchise Owner, as well as Jani-King of South Louisiana care about giving back to our community and care about keeping our environment clean. Additionally, I wanted to show that we truly are the King of Clean, indoors and out.
The sponsorship included a monetary donation, which helps BTNEP purchase supplies for the cleanup volunteers, including gloves, garbage bags, trash grabbers, and safety vests. I also made an additional donation of garbage bags for the event. In turn, Jani-King received a large logo on the back of the 1,000 printed T-shirts to be given to event volunteers, which was located directly in the center of the shirt, and Jani-King became the official cleaning company of the Bayou Lafourche Cleanup!
The 2018 Bayou Lafourche Cleanup was held on March 10 from 8 AM – 12:00 PM. At 8 AM volunteers gathered together at one of twelve different meeting locations along the 106 miles of Bayou Lafourche to begin the cleanup event. Volunteers are given supplies, an event T-shirt, and a data sheet to track the amount and types of trash picked up. At the Thibodaux meeting location, we kicked off the event with a beautiful blessing of the bayou by Father Joseph.
My dad Karl Adams, Franchise Owner, my husband Russton Angelle, and I volunteered by boat in the Thibodaux area, cleaning approximately 2 miles of Bayou Lafourche just “up the bayou” from the City of Thibodaux. We used a pool net and a long makeshift hook to pull trash in closer to the boat from along the banks of the bayou and a fishing net to catch the trash as it floated closer to the boat. We even found a place to dock our boat to pick up trash in the woods along the banks of the bayou that was littered with trash.
In just our one boat, we picked up over 200 pieces of trash and debris out of the bayou, including dozens of plastic and glass bottles, tin cans, shoes, toys, milk crates, storage bins and a spare tire among other items. Interestingly, we also found a pill bottle, a gun stock, a light bulb, a side mirror of a car, and a rusted AC vent cover. Our most difficult item to remove was an igloo dog house attached to a wooden pallet that was almost completely underwater, but with a little bit of teamwork, we were able to get the job done!
Overall, we had a great time at the 2018 Bayou Lafourche Cleanup! We discovered that volunteering can be a fun and rewarding experience, and I’m already looking forward to future events. Next year, I hope to get more people involved to be able to create a team of Jani-King volunteers in order to build our brand together. I’m also hoping to continue to sponsor this event yearly as my way of building my brand and giving back to my community. I’m also dedicated to continuing to volunteer annually, especially as my children become old enough to participate. I anticipate that in the future, the Bayou Lafourche Cleanup will become a significant event in my family every year.
I want to encourage all franchise owners to think about how they can give back to their own communities, building their Jani-King brand to be a brand that cares. More importantly, I want to inspire other franchise owners to be the one to make a difference.