MOMS Green Play Yard

Located in East Liberty, Sojourner House’s MOMS Program is an affordable residence program for transitioning single mothers and their children. The residence opened its doors in 2004, and later expanded in 2008. At that point there were over thirty children living in these homes, and the number was growing. However, there were no green spaces in the area for children to play in.

In 2008, GTECH partnered with volunteers from the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to build a fence, remove rubble, and plant canola plants on two vacant lots on the 5400 block of Black Street. The fall harvest was used to educate the community children around the production of biofuel crops. Starting in 2009, the site was transitioned into a play yard to serve the children who live at MOMS Sojourner House. A Design Fund Grant enabled Burt Hill to design the space using recycled materials. In 2013, GTECH received a grant through Heinz Youth Philanthropy to install additional features and support the ongoing maintenance of the space.

The MOMS Green Play Yard is now a place for interactive and educational play, essentially providing a safe and easily maintained ‘backyard’ for residents of MOMS Sojourner House and other families on the block. A model of urban re-use and renewal, this project is flexible enough to respond to the dynamic community while allowing its users to feel a sense of ownership. This project also encouraged residents to build a community food garden in an adjacent lot.

In spring of 2013, GTECH was awarded a Heinz Youth Philanthropy Grant to engage the children of the Sojouner House in revamping the play yard and outdoor learning activities.