Young offenders clean up after fair

Young offenders clean up after fair
By: CJ Cassidy
Cape Girardeau, MO - The 151st annual SEMO District Fair wrapped up in Cape Girardeau this weekend, much to the disappointment of many.
But even as carnival crews broke down the giant rides, and shut down their stalls a new group of youngsters began making the rounds.
Among them 16-year-old Brandon Geiger. Unlike most kids his age however, he didn't get to enjoy the rides or food. He was there to do the dirty work.
Geiger's one of two dozen juvenile offenders with the Division of Youth Services, volunteering to pick up garbage and sweep up after fair folk; a job that would otherwise cost the City of Cape Girardeau hundreds of dollars.
"It feels good to be able to help out the community, and not get in any trouble," Geiger admits, wiping sweat off his brow.
Geiger's mother, also pitched in to help her son. She's just glad to see him finally cleaning up his act.
"I know exactly where he is now. There have been times when Brandon would be gone for days, and I would wonder if he was eating or okay, and once he was gone for two weeks straight,' Frances Graham says.
"I used to steal from people and fight people all the time," her son recalls sheepishly.
These days though, the teen's turned over a new leaf, and a lot of trash.
He's part of the Junior Optimists' Club, and he's looking ahead to becoming a more productive member of his community when his sentence wraps up.
This is the 8th year young offenders with the Division of Youth Services have pitched in their efforts to clean up after the SEMO District Fair.
Administrators say they believe it helps build the youngster's character and help them see the kind of difference they can make in their community.