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Guest Blog by Shannon Twiss
Resident Outreach Coordinator

Over 70 volunteers came to Morgan Avenue in the Jordan neighborhood of North Minneapolis as early as 6:30 a.m. on Saturday to set up for the 2017 Jordan Week of Kindness celebration. Coffee in hand and ready to work hard, they prepared a resource fair, block clean-up, and planting projects.

When Twin Cities Habitat partners with a neighborhood for revitalization efforts, we’re happy to take a backseat and let the residents drive. After all, it’s their block, their neighborhood, and nobody knows it better than them. The people who live, work, and play in a community have the best understanding of what investments of time and money will help raise the overall quality of life for everyone around them. But convincing residents to open up and share their vision for their community requires a great deal of trust. For residents on one block of Charles Avenue in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood that trust in Habitat increased dramatically when we decided NOT to build a home on their block.

There is power in community.

At least, that's what we've learned through our partnerships and experiences with the Jordan neighborhood in Minneapolis, and Frogtown neighborhood in St. Paul.

Together with other local organizations and community groups, Habitat's Neighborhood Revitalization program has carried out several community-building projects in these close-knit neighborhoods to engage residents and provide service opportunities to make home improvements and enhance the aesthetics of the block(s). 

From July 9th to the 16th, Twin Cities Habitat, Thrivent Financial and the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) partnered to carry out the Jordan Week of Kindness initiative. From July 9th to the 15th, enthusiastic A Brush with Kindness volunteers worked alongside residents on repairs that transformed four houses on two blocks in the Jordan neighborhood. Local contractors like Bryskin were hired to help out with the extra load and community members like Project for Pride in Living helped with prep work.

Guest Blog by Carly Fredericks
Neighborhood Revitalization Volunteer

This summer, the Jordan neighborhood has dedicated a week to revitalizing their neighborhood and celebrating their community. 

From July 9th-16th Twin Cities Habitat and Thrivent Financial, in collaboration with the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC), Jordan residents, and other community members, will be hosting the Jordan Week of Kindness. In the Jordan neighborhood of North Minneapolis, volunteers will be working alongside residents to improve their neighborhood by repairing five houses, cleaning-up the block, and planting flowers along the boulevard.

Thirty excited Pre-K students counted down. “Five, four, three, two, one!” When they reached “one” volunteers raised a wall on a Habitat home being built near Wellstone Elementary School in St. Paul. Once the wall was up, the kids danced in delight. The volunteers couldn’t help but feel infected by the children’s joy. 

When most people think of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, the first thing that likely comes to mind are our homebuilding and home repair programs. However, in 2011, Twin Cities Habitat broadened its focus from working with individual families to also include work done in partnership with communities. Through our Impact 2020 strategic plan, we hope to continue this investment in our focus communities, and look toward possible expansion of the Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) program over the next several years.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TC Habitat) launched its Neighborhood Revitalization (NR) work in 2011 in coordination with Habitat for Humanity International. The focus on impacting individual families was broadened to a goal of improving quality of life in an entire neighborhood. The Jordan neighborhood was one of two neighborhoods selected to be a part of the program. The Frogtown Neighborhood in St. Paul is the other focus area.

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