Pharr, Texas, public works employees and residents dedicate the last Saturday of each month to Operation Clean Sweep, a volunteer effort designed to teach other residents and businesses how to become self-sustaining.

For the first time, this year the public works department gave all 70,000 residents the chance for a first-hand look at what employees do—and recruit more Operation Clean Sweep volunteers—by hosting its first National Public Works Week event. At least 200 students and residents took in special demonstrations, guided tours, educational display booths, and interactive games with employees of the department’s seven divisions.

All activities were geared toward showing how each division benefits the community.

“Public works contributes a lot to our daily lives,” says environmental education coordinator Grace Segovia. “We have clean water, safe streets and neighborhoods, efficient traffic, and safe, clean communities because of Pharr Public Works.”

Held back by economic constraints in the past, this year the department enlisted local sponsorship support including equipment and supply vendors.

The department employees 53 men and women who are responsible for transportation, traffic operations, drainage, stormwater management, recycling services, fleet services, and animal control services. "We take pride in helping Pharr stay green, clean, and beautiful," says Segovia. To see how the festival worked, visit here.