Youth ReClaim: Hazelwood

Our Youth Engagement team is working in flow with the many initiatives and projects in Hazelwood.

At the start of January, we began implementing our Green Playces Initiative and Youth ReClaim PGH curriculum with children from the Center of Life Fusion after school program and JADA House International. In both programs, we provide knowledge on blight, how it came to be, and how it impacts the community. We then equip participants with different techniques to advocate for themselves and the community, tools for asset mapping, guidance on how to find organizations that may be interested in partnering, funding or sponsoring their own neighborhood initiatives, and design skills to create and implement a project.

We are also excited to be partnering on this project with Morningstar Baptist Church, a prominent institution in the area. Through a joint collaboration between Morning Star, Center of Life, JADA House, and Grounded, we will be creating an inclusive space that reflects the voice of the neighborhood as well as that of Morning Star. Our goal is to design and build a space where parishioners can worship freely yet can also be used by residents and children as a safe haven to bond with one another and nature.

We are also honored to be designing the space in reverence and remembrance of both Minister Rena Fuller and George Thomas, who were very active members of both the church and the community. Both Rena and George were regarded as individuals who were always welcoming, made everyone feel like family and gave with open hearts empathically. They are viewed as peacekeepers and protectors who always understood what people were feeling even if when they didn’t say it. The space will be dedicated in their memory.

In early to mid May, our 2 cohorts of youth from The Center of Life after school program and The Jada House Intl. program completed their Youth ReClaim in-class education series. Towards the end this month we also called upon residents, volunteers and our friends at The Mission Continues to implement a large scale ground breaking to incite excitement about the coming of a new community space.

Carrying the momentum of last month, we returned in late June to Center of Life to prep for the summer months excited for a chance to engage residential youth in green space infrastructure and community building.

For the month of July, we used this time to be all hands on deck! We got an awesome group of eleven 3rd/4th graders and an amazing group of  5th/6th graders to work with for in-class review with some outdoor fun! The youth took photos of what they saw as community assets and liabilities for a collage presentation, as well as, communicate with local businesses about what it meant to them to be apart of the neighborhood fabric.