Waterbury police and teens team up to help seniors and the disabled cope with the snow

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — It isn’t often when kids are happy to do work when school is canceled. But on Friday, a group of teens with good hearts spent their day off from school scooping away, clearing snow for complete strangers.

“I’m out here to help people who can’t get out of their house,” said Luis Rios.

Luis and a group of about 40 other kids participate in programs put on by the Waterbury Police Athletic League (PAL). On Friday, PAL officers drove the kids to dozens of houses that needed digging out from the snow storm. They were the homes of seniors and/or disabled residents who couldn’t clear all of that snow themselves.

Related: Snow, extreme cold pose dangers for you, your home

“It’s a lot harder for them to get out and if they slip — it’s over,” Luis said. “They could break their back, hurt themselves really bad.”

That’s why Santina Romanelli was so grateful to see the kids show up at her house. They scooped out her driveway and walkway. Santina says her husband couldn’t do it because he’s disabled.

“It makes me feel good because my husband has a doctor’s appointment and he needs to get out,” she said.

Related: Frustrations grow about snow removal from the streets

When they got the job done, Luis went to the door to let Santina know. Santina showed how much she appreciated what they had done for her and her husband by giving Luis a big hug and a warm thank you.

And then it was time for the kids to jump back into their Waterbury PAL vans and head to the next house. The kids call themselves “The Waterbury PAL Shovel Brigade”. The city pays them minimum wage for their work, but Luis says the smiles on the faces of the people they help is something he values too.

He hopes The Shovel Brigade sends them a message.

“We’re showing that kids care about the community, too” Luis said.

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