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West Allis girl inspires cleanup effort

WEST ALLIS, WI -- Cleaning up the community is no easy task. Convincing others to join in on that effort is perhaps even more difficult. That is unless you've met nine-year-old Morgan Zak of West Allis. This young difference-maker is growing into her role as a community leader. She's doing that by getting her hands dirty.

She and others are committed to picking up litter on a consistent basis as part of an effort the city dubbed the \"Zak Attack.\" It began with a cleanup program she spearheaded at Jefferson Elementary and a simple email.

\"You know what we really need to do,\" Morgan asked a friend. \"Well, what I want to do? When I'm ten, I want to send an email to someone and try to get something like a cleanup going on.\"

That's all well and good, of course. However Morgan learned she's not so good at sitting on a great idea.

\"I was like 'why wait, why not do this today.\" Morgan recounted sharing with a family friend.

She acted immediately, taking West Allis Mayor Dan Devine's office, and her mother Jessica Zak, by surprise.

\"It was impressive,\" professed West Allis mayor Dan Devine. \"It seemed very legitimate.

\"So when we went back and forth corresonding, I thought 'is her mom writing this for her,' because it was really sharp. It gives you hope for the future.\"

\"I was like 'are you serious,\" exclaimed Morgan's mother Jessica Zak. \"She [Morgan] said 'yeah I just emailed the mayor,' [like it was] no big deal.\"

Morgan's idea took root with the mayor, and nearly 30 people showed up to help her clean up the community areas of West Allis. It all goes to show, you should never overlook the contributions children are just waiting to make.

\"I think we underestimate kids on a regular basis,\" said West Allis Police community service officer Rod Nelson. \"I think, really, they come up with a lot of good ideas. I think we ought to start listening to them.\"

It comes as no surprise that Morgan is on her school's student council, already working to lead her peers to accomplish great things. Her mother couldn't be prouder of the path her daughter is on.

\"She's absolutely not normal,\" Jessica Zak admitted with a laugh. \"But in a positive awesome way. She's the biggest-hearted kid I've ever met.\"

\"I have a nine-year-old daughter myself, so I hope she leaves here inspired tonight,\" Devine shared.

The night was made even more special because it brought about an unexpected reunion of mother and daughter.

\"She had no idea I was coming and surprised her,\" Jessica Zak told CBS 58.

Morgan's mother had been in the hospital for the previous 10 days, recovering from brain surgery.

The two hadn't seen each other in all those days. But, as Jessica told us, there was no way she was going to miss Morgan's big night. The two shared an emotional moment after reuniting. It was a moment the two are not likely to forget anytime soon.

Morgan Zak, and the Zak Attack are making Milwaukee Great.


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