Navy Recruits take to the streets to improve the Edison Neighborhood

On Saturday June 25th over 50 Navy recruits and their officers took to the streets of the Edison neighborhood in Kalamazoo for a day of service to the community. The volunteers focused on a 3 block area near 1200 Hayes Park Ave, where they did extensive clean-up and restoration at a small park called Ashley Joyce Memorial. Volunteers also painted over graffiti in alleyways on both sides of Hayes Park Ave, trimmed trees and shrubs that were blocking sidewalks, and removed countless bags of trash from the streets.

The Volunteer Center organized the service project for the recruits in partnership with the Edison Neighborhood Association, as part of our new initiative, called the Kalamazoo Neighborhood Safety Initiative.  This program includes service projects aimed at improving neighborhood safety and currently focuses on Edison, Eastside, and Oakwood neighborhoods of Kalamazoo.

Matt Lechel, Kalamazoo Neighborhood Safety Initiative Coordinator for VCGK had an intense morning with the recruits who were raring to go and eager to clean up the area.  The recruits plowed through all of the scheduled activities and needed more work before the end of the day.  (We love it when that happens.)

Matt: “Improving neighborhood safety is a complex and long-term project, but we have to start somewhere. House by house, street by street, and neighborhood by neighborhood we will improve the safety and viability of our neighborhoods through direct service. Mayor Bobby Hopewell has pledged Kalamazoo as a ‘City of Service’ and these projects exemplify that pledge and commitment. The Navy recruits who worked in Edison on June 25th were some of the hardest working volunteers I’ve ever worked with. The results of their hard work were obvious to the neighbors and the KDPS officer who came out the publically thank the volunteers for their efforts.”

As part of the KNSI program, the Volunteer Center will host two community-wide Days of Service on September 10 for the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance and October 22 for Make a Difference Day.  For more information about getting involved in service through the Kalamazoo Neighborhood Safety Initiative or one of the Days of Service, contact the Volunteer Center at 269.382.8350, via email or visit www.volunteerkalamazoo.org.

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