Youth ReClaim: Hazelwood

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

Since January 2019, we have been implementing our Green Playces Initiative and Youth ReClaim PGH curriculum in Hazelwood. Our main youth partners have been 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.

Read more about our 2020 youth programming in Ashley’s blog post. 

Our work with the youth will also focus on two outdoor spaces:

Morningstar Green Playce – a new space on the large open lot at the corner of 2nd Ave. & Renova Street

Everybuddy’s Garden – an existing neighborhood garden tended by several neighbors and led by Jim McCue, on the corner of Elizabeth St. and Lytle St.

Below are photos from our 2019 youth process. These engagements led to the design and build of the Morningstar Green Playce. 

The Morningstar Green Playce was a collaboration with Morningstar Baptist Church, the site’s owner and neighborhood institution with deep roots in the area. Through a joint collaboration between Morningstar, Center of Life, JADA House, The Mission Continues and Grounded, we created an inclusive space that reflects the voice of the neighborhood as well as that of Morning Star. Through several workdays during the summer of 2019, we largely achieved our goal – the design and build of a space where parishioners can celebrate 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 dedicating the space in reverence and remembrance of 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.