Teamwork truly was the theme during the Glass Farm neighborhood Beautification Blitz 2017 on May 11, 2017 with Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization team. This time around, rather than beginning from scratch, we were celebrating and building on a year-long partnership in the neighborhood establishing a broader understanding and relationship of trust among those who call Glass Street and the surrounding streets home. For starters, GHC staff and Habitat staff served together as team leaders directing the 60+ volunteers from Keller Williams realtors association.
Regardless of degree of experience with hand saws or loppers, we each jumped right in to take the lead on following through with yard pruning and plantings, and even minor tree/branch removal that had been requested and mapped out ahead of time, walking the neighborhood together. “Our foundational relationships built as we’ve worked on qualifying home repair projects, surveying, and collaboration with Glass House Collective, has made this year’s Blitz prep much smoother,” says Daniel Gamble, “which is a good thing, considering this was NR’s highest number of volunteers to direct at one time up to this point.”
Our volunteers were eager to help and received an overview of the focus of our joint work in the neighborhood from Daniel Gamble and Whitni McDonald in the morning before splitting off into their pre-assigned groups, accomplishing work at 17 residences, 3 commercial areas, and a trailhead (with Brenna and Sarah from Southeast Conservation Corps) over the course of the morning and following day.
When residents were at home, several came out to chat and get involved– particularly the younger members of the family, excited to see new flowers being planted and old, overgrown brush removed.
Though the workday mostly wound down on Thursday around lunch time, morale was high among the volunteers who came out. Many commented that they found working in the teams to cover lots of ground very rewarding, saying how the pruning, raking, and weeding came as a welcome challenge and change of pace from a typical Thursday at the office. Perhaps more importantly, they became more familiar with a Chattanooga neighborhood they aren’t used to visiting, and got more familiar with work Glass House Collective, Mark Making, Studio Everything, and Archway are all initiating in this corner of East Chattanooga.
On Friday, there were some loose ends to tie up at a few residential sites, and mulching work to finish, along with garbage removal and additional pruning. This was accomplished with the help of a new batch of volunteers from Lowes, and attended to between dodging patches of rain showers. Overall, the work was satisfying and for the most part, the corresponding media coverage throughout the event reinforced the sense of pride residents take in their neighborhood.