MONROEVILLE, Ind. (WFFT) — For most elementary schoolers, recess is a break from work.
But for one Heritage Elementary student, it’s a time to clean up after others.
Olivia Brown’s classmates are on the playground, but she’s carrying a plastic bag outside her school, looking for trash like she does every day during recess.
Olivia’s mother, Kay Brown, says Olivia gave herself this cleaning role at the beginning of the school year.
"At first we were like, 'Well Olivia, you can play too. It’s alright.' And she just insisted on doing this. So we let her keep doing it, just picking up the trash and things. No one asked her. She just decided to do it on her own," Kay said.
The reason Olivia trades her playground time for trash duty?
"I care about the animals more than anything else," Olivia said. "They think the trash is food, and if they swallow it or choke on it, they will die."
Olivia’s teachers honored her earlier this year for keeping her school clean one piece of trash at a time.
"It’s very out of character for an 8-year-old, almost 9-year-old, to want to do something like that, so they were very excited and wanting to honor her for that," Kay said.
Heritage Elementary staff praised her in person and over the PA speaker for the entire school to hear.
"I think you should not underestimate kids. Don’t wait until they’re older to get them involved. Get them involved early. Find something that they’re passionate about, find something they really care about, and do something for other people," Kay said.
And what Olivia cares about right now is picking up after others.
She also plans to work on a project later this year to promote recycling.