An August Greeting to Everyone!
We are pleased to report on the success of the B3 (Building Better Blocks) efforts of the past summer. With two more volunteer groups still to come, and several more in the fall, we have more still to do. Of course, that does not mean we should fail to pause and celebrate the work that's been accomplished!
Since our first teams arrived in May, we have:
- worked with more than two dozen block captains on more than 30 B3 project tasks
- mow, cleared, and cleaned upwards of 40 vacant lots
- organized some 115 volunteers to complete upwards of 4500 volunteer hours of labor
- partner with several block clubs, community organizations, and other neighborhood non-profits
- boarded a half-dozen homes, four of which took place in a single day!
More importantly that all of this data has been our renewed connection to and partnership with the community. Miguel Pope - President of the Mt. Elliot Business and Community Association - praised one of our teams for "crossing historical lines and boundaries" by "coming together to do something great in our neighborhood." Another Block Captain, Desiree Howard, thoroughly enjoyed "the chance to do something that means something on our own block, right here." Overall, Block Captains surveyed shared near-universal satisfaction with their volunteers, the work accomplished, and the dignifying approach to setting volunteers under their leadership.
But our community and our neighbors weren't the only ones impacted. Volunteers from around the Metro-Detroit area (and out of state!) were challenged and encouraged by their experiences. "Detroit is a community - something we are losing in the suburbs," said Frank Nachtman, a leader from a local church volunteer team. "Unlike our tidy neighborhoods where we barely know the family's name two doors over - Detroiters have a keen awareness of what's going on in their community. That really showed itself in our projects." By setting up men like Frank and their volunteers with local leaders, both parties were benefited by the cross-cultural encounter, and as a result, they were challenged to break down stereotypes of one another while working side by side.
If you're interested in reading more, plese visit the MACC Development Blog, where we'll be posting more stories and updates.
Ultimately, our work has not gone unnoticed. For the first time, we've had more applications for B3 projects that we could sustain and had to turn away applicants. Where in the past our program slowly struggled to get the word out, our organization found ourselves working dilligently to tackle as many B3 tasks as possible and afford as many volunteers to resident Block Captains as was within our capacity.
Additionally, one of our targeted neighborhoods - Pingree Park - has received increased support from the city of Detroit. The namesake of the neighborhood is now one of only 25 parks (out of nearly 200) regularly mowed and maintained by the city. The neighborhood was redesignated with Hard Hit Funnding (HHF), which will mean just over 100 properties will be torn down in the local area. Sevearl beautiful, brick properties reached the city auction, yet another indicator that city has come to recognize Pingree as a viable neighborhood.
So please, be encouraged! Together, we've made a tremendous, concentrated progress in the 48214 community and teh results speak for themselves.