412Build cohort unveils Homewood-based projects, shares life lessons

A mere five weeks ago, local high school students began the 412 Build program – a unique internship that fuses elements of STEAM education, entrepreneurialism, play and community development. On Friday, these proud students unveiled their built additions and shared their personal takeaways. In partnership with the Homewood Bible Center the youth engaged the community, designed kid-centric elements to enhance the Homewood-based playground. Features designed, built and installed by the 412Build cohort   The evening kicked off with a passionate Homewood resident taking the…

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How to gain Community Support for your Vacant Land Project Idea

The key for your community project's success is getting the community's support.   So you've checked out Lots to Love, found a vacant lot in need of some love and have the perfect idea for the space – now what? Well, the first step to getting your idea off the ground is building a community around it. 1. Make a plan Develop a plan with as much detail as you can. Where is the proposed site? What do you plan on doing with…

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7 (Free) Things You Can Recycle & Reuse to Spruce up a Vacant Lot

Landscaping a vacant lot can be expensive. Below you will find a 7 different types of free or almost free materials that our Ambassadors used to beautify there vacant lot project. From Craigslist finds to items bound for the landfill, these pieces now serve a productive community purpose and didn't break the bank. 1. Landscaping rocks Perusing the "free" and "lawn & garden" sections of Craigslist, Alandra & April found some GIANT rocks that someone was getting rid of. They want to use as…

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Homewood Residents Young and Old Give Input on the Next Green Playce

Homewood Bible Center hosted an input session for community stakeholders. On July 13, GTECH partnered with the staff at the Homewood Bible Center to host a community input session where residents (yes, even those as young as 4!) had the opportunity to share their ideas for their Green Playce project being installed this fall. Overall kids, teens and adults decided they want to see colorful and educational installations. In addition they'd like to see benches and other spaces that encourage gathering.…

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Volunteer Opportunity: Two Wheels Lots of Green

Bikers needed to help lead a ride through Northside neighborhoods   Our 4th annual project showcase and fundraiser Two Wheels Lots of Green is happening August 22nd, and we need a few good volunteers to help make it the best that it can be!   If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the form below.  Once your responses have been submitted we will contact you with more information about your role and logistics for the day.  Thank you for…

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Meet Hank – The ReClaim McKeesport Superhero

Meet Hank. He is McKeesport's resident superhero. His superpower - helping fight blight alongside his neighbors. Here he is, taking a well deserved rest after a long evening of work on Shari's site. I met Hank for the first time last September at the McKeesport Dunkin Donuts. He came in for a quick interview and talked about his vision for a vacant lot near his home – a little park, in memory of his wife, with a volleyball court for his…

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Community-driven design isn’t just for adults

The first Green Playces design is complete and will be installed near the Propel Northside school in the Pittsburgh's Perry South neighborhood. How do you take a vacant lot and turn it into a creative outdoor classroom? Step 1: Ask the Kids For starters, we asked a group of third graders, "what would you do with this?":   These kids dream big, and we ended up with some pretty amazing ideas, like a giant pool party or even a ninja garden. Step 2: Make it real…

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6 Vacant Land Projects that Need Your Help NOW!

Check out these 6 grassroots crowdfunding projects that are making the Pittsburgh area even better place to live. 1. Ayanna Lee-Davis– The Perry Hilltop Beautification Garden Ayanna wants people enter her neighborhood and not see an ugly vacant lot, but a beautiful community gathering space in her Perry Hilltop neighborhood. “It’s an eyesore of open space that says, ‘Where am I?' I thought it would be a good place for something beautiful.” Help Ayanna ReClaim Pittsburgh >> 2. Dana Jackson– The…

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ReClaim Northside Ambassador featured in Next Pittsburgh

Cynthia Mendoza, founder of Brown Mamas and the Ambassador behind the A Place for Moms: Welcoming Corner project  is featured in Next Pittsburgh this week. Cynthia has been working hard for her Northside community of Observatory Hill. Not only is she is the process of repurposing a city-owned vacant lot for use as a community garden through the ReClaim Northside program, she is working on running her own nonprofit, Brown Mamas, while balancing the demands of motherhood. When her garden is completed this summer, she…

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Finding Common Ground on a Vacant Lot in Homewood

GTECH, the Pittsburgh Marathon, FedEx Ground, Operation Better Block and Whole Foods Market work together to reclaim a vacant lot along the marathon route. As a part of an annual partnership with the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, GTECH and community partners work to activate one of the hundreds of vacant lots along the marathon route. This year, GTECH partnered with FedEx Ground and Operation Better Block to activate and program a lot along Frankstown Avenue. To learn more about the project watch…

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Learning About Starbucks’ Sustainability Practices

Social Capital Council Members take a LEED Tour and Coffee Tasting with Starbucks   Starbucks is creating more eco-conscious stores on a global scale from the design stage right through to construction and operations.  Combined with their commitment to ethical sourcing, Starbucks is a global leader in sustainability. Thank you Paul Morack for giving Social Capital Council Members an inside look at Starbucks’ sustainability practices at their new LEED® certified store in One Oxford Centre.  We had a great time exploring the store's sustainable building…

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