Ya Fav Trashman teaches kids about street cleanliness in new book

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) “Who said being a garbage collector wasn’t cool?” Terrill Haigler’s children, who are they?

“They were so ashamed that I was a health worker in the beginning,” recalls Haigler, 32. “My son used to tell people I was a cop. My daughter told people I was a pilot. They said, ‘Don’t pick us up outside the school gate.’ ”

They did not yet understand the importance of sanitation workers. But it gave Haigler a chance to start the conversation.

“It opened the door to so many conversations with 10-, 9-, and 5-year-olds that now they’re like garbage police,” he said.

Haigler, who has garnered a huge following on social media as Ya Fav Trashman, quit his job as a sanitation worker last year to become a full-time advocate for cleaner streets. Her most recent effort – inspired by her own children – is a new children’s book that teaches kids about clean communities.

In the book, titled “I’m Cool Too,” he says all the kids have the same dream, “and they end up being my new hires at work. Throughout the book, I tell them about the sanitation, the sanitation work, the truck, the community.

“Cleaning up and greening spaces, repairing abandoned houses, turning vacant lots into parks reduces crime by nearly 30%,” he added. “So when I started doing neighborhood cleanups, I thought, a cleaner neighborhood is a safer neighborhood.”

The book is available for pre-order ahead of its June 30 release. Haigler said $5 from every book sale will be donated to Philadelphia Public Schools. The goal is to sell 200,000 copies and reach $1 million for the district.

“I’m going to personally deliver every check to the schools after Labor Day if I can reach my million dollars and let the schools use it as they see fit,” Haigler said. “I think it’s more impactful.”