Pitt 1st Years are Grounded in Homewood

As part of their orientation process at the start of the fall semester, first years at Pitt joined Grounded in Homewood for a day of service. We worked together on a litter cleanup, while engaging in thought provoking discussions about the ties between refuse, home abandonment, poverty, and access to green space.     Our litter cleanup also served as a walking tour of the neighborhood, to show areas where Grounded has already built a presence, as well as areas…

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Grounded in Clairton

Grounded Strategies continues to support the Clairton Community as part of our ReClaim Ambassador program. Recently, we’ve been working with our Ambassadors Toni and Felix on sprucing up their sites. After a winter with lots of temperature fluctuations, Felix’s doorways at Communications Park had shifted, so we gave them a little love, squaring up their sashes and priming the ground for his sunflower walls. Just down the street at Clairton CommUnity Garden, Toni has been hustling and bustling getting the…

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Grandma Bev’s Green Zone Party

Joining the Grounded network last September as a CommunityCare steward Beverly Howell, also known as Grandma Bev, showed her commitment to the Homewood neighborhood and to keeping it clean and green. Prior to joining the CommunityCare program, Bev has been a long-time active resident of Homewood, and even acquired the vacant lot next to her home through the City's Adopt-a-Lot lease program. Beverly envisioned this space next to her home to be a safe haven for the children of Homewood…

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Sustainability Education

We recently came across a study published in The Journal of Environmental Education focused on the effectiveness of sustainability education in four different unique schools. The study lead to interesting results about which methods of sustainability messaging are most effective at encouraging youth to be environmentally conscious members of society. Schools must immerse students in sustainable practices and possess a culture of equality and sustainability in order to impact students. After interviewing students at each of the four schools, this…

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Grounded in Milwaukee

In May, members of the Grounded team headed to Milwaukee to attend the Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) conference. This year’s theme was Groundswell: Rising to the Challenge. The conference brought together grassroots leaders, community development professionals, program coordinators, and policymakers to exchange ideas on revitalizing distressed communities. Speakers and attendees shared insights on ways their communities are eliminating blight as we scribbled away furiously taking notes and we shared our own stories on how Pittsburgh is stabilizing and reclaiming vacant property. Grounded…

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Ambassador Highlight – Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas joined the Grounded network as a ReClaim South Ambassador in the 2013-2014 year and was involved again in the ReClaim South 2.0 Sustaining Momentum program in 2015-2016. Through the Ambassador program, Ms. Natalie created a community garden on a vacant lot in Beltzhoover to share with the community and engage children living in Beltzhoover. Recently, the Grounded staff visited Natalie's site for a workday to spruce it up and get it ready for the summer. The entire staff,…

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Commodification of Kindness

We recently came across a BBC News video that shares the story of a UK-based concept of digital currency created in the city of Hull. The digital currency rewards people for doing good, or for doing volunteer work in their community. The rewards are non-monetary payments that allow volunteers to shop at participating stores and businesses for a discounted price. People who volunteer don’t usually get rewarded in this way. The creator of this digital currency in Hull calls this a commodification…

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Grounded & Propel Andrew Street High School: Bringing Green Playces to Life.

This Spring, Grounded Strategies had the chance to revisit one of our Green Playces: Student Ambassador projects at a vacant lot owned by Propel Andrew Street High School in Homestead. Last fall, the Green Playces: Student Ambassador project worked weekly with Propel students to learn environmental justice principles and apply them to the vacant lot project.   On April 13, 3 Propel staff, 17 students, 6 alumni, and 2 Grounded staff picked up paint brushes, wheelbarrows and went to work. We…

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Birthday Giving

Grounded staffer, Shequaya, had the opportunity to correspond with Sarah Roberson who recently decided to dedicate her birthday to us on Facebook and that campaign raised a whopping $540. People like Sarah who are willing to donate time and/or money truly help to sustain the work we do. How did you first come to contact with Grounded Strategies? I found Grounded back in 2015 when I was looking for local Pittsburgh nonprofit groups to organize volunteer groups for my employer. How…

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Jump start your Spring with Land Lab!

Following up on our work in Larimer during the previous year, Land Lab was back just in time for the 2018 growing season. Reinforcing our commitment to reinvigorating vacant lots throughout the city, Grounded hosted “Blight Doctors” for 1-on-1 discussions on vacant land issues, in addition to offering participant selected content geared toward educating attendees on a variety of solutions to vacant land issues. Our list of modules included: Sustainable Planning 101: Designing Within a Realistic Scope - Content focused…

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LandCare Women Making a Difference in Hazelwood

Strengthening communities through vacant lot maintenance Have you ever wondered who maintains all of the vacant lots in Pittsburgh? With over 27,000 vacant lots in just the city alone, it takes a coordinated effort to care for this vast amount of vacant land. The City of Pittsburgh owns approximately 26% of Pittsburgh’s vacant lots and the URA owns another 5.2%, or around 1,400 vacant lots. If you haven’t really noticed a vacant lot in your community, chances are that it…

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Black History. American History. History.

Grounder Rebecca Mizikar recently sat down with three former residents of Lincoln Way in Clairton to understand the vibrant black community that thrived there. Before the bulldozers demolished the last of the vacant houses along the dead-end street, before the city and developers started to talk about new visions for this blank slate of land at the edge of the town, before the Bigfoot and alien legends came to explain the decline and vacancy of an entire street, Lincoln Way…

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