‘Litter Critter’ Mateo a finalist in national Kindest Kid Contest

Mateo Maldonado, 7, left, Nataleah Abate, 6, and Lynn Rodenhaber spot a new pile of trash to pick up along Loucks Mill Road in Spring Garden Township on April 15, 2013. Maldonado's group of 'Litter Critters' has been cleaning up areas in and around the city for months. He is preparing an even larger cleanup project for Earth Day. (FOR THE DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS -- FILE)

Mateo Maldonado, 7, left, Nataleah Abate, 6, and Lynn Rodenhaber spot a new pile of trash to pick up along Loucks Mill Road in Spring Garden Township on April 15, 2013. Maldonado’s group of ‘Litter Critters’ has been cleaning up areas in and around the city for months. He is preparing an even larger cleanup project for Earth Day. (FOR THE DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS — FILE)

Mateo Maldonado just might be one of the kindest kids in America.

At the very least, Mateo’s efforts to clean up York with his gang of Litter Critters have earned him national recognition and a finalist spot in the Kindest Kid Contest run by Sprout, NBC’s pre-school network.

Watch a feature on the “Today” show about the Mateo and the other contestants.

Four finalists were chosen, and each will compete for the title of Chief Kindness Officer and a donation to a children’s charity in the winner’s name. It’s a contest to celebrate “everyday thoughtful acts,” according to a news release — something that’s right up Mateo’s alley.

Over the past year, 7-year-old Mateo, along with the help of his little sister Styls-Mene, mother and others in the community, have set out to do their part to make York a better place to live — collecting more than 200 bags of litter from city neighborhoods.

“I just didn’t want the Earth to look bad,” Mateo told the Daily Record/Sunday News. “I thought I could help.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said last spring.

And now, after giving back to the community, Mateo needs some help from you. For each vote received, Sprout will donate $1 up to $25,000 to a national children’s charity, as well as an additional $5,000 in the winner’s name, the news release states.

You can vote online once a day through Dec. 17 at SproutOnline.com/KindestKid. The winner will be announced Dec. 21.

So if you think Mateo is one cool, kind kid, go online and vote.

About Hannah Sawyer

Multiplatform journalist/city reporter by day, avid sleeper by night. I go to the dog park so much that the regulars gave me a nickname -- Lois Lane. My weaknesses are Ben and Jerry's and snow.
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