This summer, Focus: HOPE, together with neighborhood residents and other partners, is embarking on an ambitious, three-day anti-blight project covering the 100 blocks around its Detroit campus on Oakman Boulevard near Linwood. More than 10,000 volunteers, residents, business owners and community organization members are expected to take part in the “Keep It 100!” project on July 16, 17 and 18.
The goal of Keep It 100! is to impact the physical environment of all 100 blocks — making them 100% clean, 100% safe and 100% beautiful. In addition to engaging the community, Focus: HOPE is enlisting the help of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) during its Youth Gathering in Detroit. Thousands of high school-aged youth and their adult leaders are convening in the city from July 15-19 for worship, service, fellowship, and study.
“We are extremely grateful to the young people from the ELCA who are teaming up with our neighbors in this significant undertaking to revitalize our community,” said Focus: HOPE CEO William F. Jones, Jr. “When the project is completed, there will be a renewed sense of pride in the neighborhood. Additionally, this extraordinary beautification effort will position the HOPE Village community for a sustainable, brighter future.”
In preparation for Keep It 100!, Focus: HOPE completed a comprehensive assessment of the physical condition of every property and parcel in the 100 blocks. Volunteers will clear the area of trash, board up abandoned properties, install photo banners created by local youth and art panels created by neighborhood artist Hubert Massey, plant flowers and rain gardens, and clean up and mow vacant lots.
“Community participation is vital for this project. Skilled volunteers who can help with board ups, operate power tools, or oversee rain garden construction are particularly critical,” said Debbie Fisher, director of the HOPE Village Initiative. “We also need tools and other resources, as well as cash donations to purchase supplies for the project. Working together with neighborhood residents, we can provide a strong launching point for the future of HOPE Village.”Anyone interested in supporting Keep It 100! through donations or volunteering, can sign up online at: http://www.focushope.edu/100.
The HOPE Village Initiative is a long-term, place-based program designed to improve the odds of success for the families living in the 100 blocks surrounding Focus: HOPE’s campus. The initiative focuses on early childhood and adult education, building economic self-sufficiency, and community development to create a pipeline of opportunity. The goal is to ensure that by 2031, all of the residents in the area are educationally well-prepared, economically self-sufficient, and living in a safe and supportive environment.