Blog

Blog

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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What IS a Green Playce? …Fast Facts on this exciting program

The Green Playces Initiative is Grounded Strategies' youth-based programming and placemaking program.  Our origins  The Green Playces Initiative was formed out of research we conducted in 2014 that examined the prevalence of environmental education opportunities for youth in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, which yielded the Youth in Green report. Why Green Playces matter There is a growing body of evidence that tells us how important it is for youth to connect with their outdoor environment. Improvements in behavior,…

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Jump start your Spring with Land Lab!

Following up on our work in Larimer last year, Land Lab is back just in time for the 2018 growing season. Reinforcing our commitment to reinvigorating vacant lots throughout the city, Grounded will be hosting “Blight Doctors” for 1-on-1 discussions on vacant land issues, as well as offering participant selected content geared toward educating attendees on a variety of solutions to vacant land issues. Our expanded list of modules includes: Sustainable Planning 101: Designing Within a Realistic Scope - Content…

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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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Gavin Gets Repotted

GTECH people are good dirt (and I mean that as the highest of compliments). As Plato put it: “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.” If people are like dirt, then GTECH people are rich, organic soil. Without artificial ingredients, and no matter the precise composition, they manage to offer just the right balance of nutrients, moisture and support throughout…

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Grab a seat at the roundtable.

What are the building blocks of community change? Peter Block argues that the answer is small-scale, informal, and personal resident engagement: the roundtable. The Grounded Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Liaisons have been putting this idea to the test while reading Block's work Community: The Structure of Belonging. Each month, we meet to discuss project activities as well as to take part in a group discussion about the best ways to increase resident involvement and buy-in, essential ingredients for community health and sustainability. Last month,…

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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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Investing in People

Engaging community members in our programs is essential to Grounded Strategies.  Doing so gives residents of communities across Allegheny County an active hand in addressing vacant land challenges and improving their neighborhood. Grounded provides training, equips residents, and gives them tools to transform community greenspace into thriving spaces for everyone to enjoy. This improves the residents' sense of pride in their communities and in the work that they have accomplished. It would be simple for nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers from…

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Featured Partner: Pitt Engineers without Borders

For this month’s Featured Partner, we are highlighting a new and exciting partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. We could not be more excited to work with them as they contribute their engineering skills toward our fight to transform vacant and under-loved land throughout Allegheny County. For our first project together, we challenged them to design and build a water collection cistern as part of our Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GTECH GSI) project in Observatory Hill. Tucked…

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We’re Back! ReClaim Clairton 2.0 is Almost Here!

Gearing up for ReClaim Clairton 2.0 It is hard to believe that the first year of our ReClaim Clairton Ambassador program has come to a close. We are so excited and proud of the accomplishments that our Ambassadors have achieved over the past 12 months. ReClaim Clairton 2016 - 2017 The ReClaim Ambassador model builds the knowledge and capacity of residents to design, organize and lead vacant lot revitalization efforts. The 2016-2017 Clairton ReClaim Ambassador Program has engaged, equipped, and…

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