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How a Memphis 5-year-old is working to keep his community clean

5-year-old Amarious Patterson from South Memphis has gone viral with his efforts to beautify his neighborhood.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There are many initiatives from the city of Memphis working to keep neighborhoods clean. 

You have the 901 Keep It Clean Campaign, Memphis City Beautiful and more, but one thing the city doesn’t have is 5-year-old Amarious Patterson from South Memphis. He’s gone viral in a video of him asking to take out his neighbors’ trash.

For Patterson, his day’s duties are simple. 

“Wake up and brush my teeth,” said Patterson. 

What he won’t tell you is no day is complete without his mission to serve. Each day, Amarious asks his neighbors if he can take out their trash.

“He has an older brother who is 11, and he helps him empty the trash. I guess since he knows him and that he’s a good person, he asks them can he help him empty his trash,” said Rashanelle Patterson, Amarious’ mother. 

It's a big gesture from a small young man of few words. Amarious said he feels good about the deed especially since a neighbor gave him a reward. 

“I wanted firecrackers,” he said.

It’s the little things that make he and his mom happy. 

“I know I’m doing something right because he never had a dad. It’s always been me,” said Rashanelle. “I lost my brother in 2020. That was the only person who really was in his life as far as male-wise.”

That's where Amarious’ community stepped in to help. 

His neighbor and mentor, Nator, posted a video of Amarious asking to take out his trash. The video went viral. 

“He’s the new world nephew,” said Nator. “Just seeing him want to come and help me with the situation, in my personal space, that speaks volumes. That says a lot about how he is being raised as a young child … I gave him a bag full of fireworks and he was full of joy.” 

It's a joy Amarious could not wait to fire up and see spark.

“The fact that you have a young man that is so young that’s into that already at an early age,” said Nator. “It feels great to me because I’m a guy that he looks up to. That’s why I try to lead by example … That lets me know that I’m doing my job and them seeing me clean up the apartments to where they want to help themselves" 

"It makes me feel really good. It makes me feel even more good because everybody is making him smile,” said Rashanelle.

Amarious’ smile is just like firecrackers. It explodes with impact. Rashanelle said while lending a hand is fun, safety always comes first. Amarious only goes to homes of people he knows following the age-old rule of not talking to strangers.

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