The Booker T. Washington “Rock the Block”
Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative has partnered with residents of the Booker T. Washington Community to enhance the quality of life for every neighbor. The neighborhood got together through several community meetings, both small and large, to decide on a Quality of Life Plan. One of the goals that residents deemed important is Restored Housing. Restored Housing includes many efforts, ranging in scope from fully rehabbing vacant properties to completing minor repairs that allow the elderly to age in their home safely.
The BTW Neighborhood Coalition decided to find 2 initial projects in close proximity to one another in order to achieve a “Rock the Block” experience. A condition of these initial projects was that they would be in the spirit of honoring elders of the neighborhood. HFHHC’s NR team took project suggestions from resident leaders and vetted them to ensure that the homeowners live in the home, they have insurance, and they were willing to pay 10% of the project cost. We then developed a scope of work that was achievable for a single day of volunteer work.
This is how we landed on Ragin Street in service to Ms. Eleanore Gore as well as Mr. & Mrs. Luther and Ira Mae Graham. Eleanore (aka MUA) was in dire need of a permanent wheelchair ramp. She is new to her wheels, and is also in an early phase of Alzheimer’s. Her children and grandchildren take shifts to care for her 24/7. Ira Mae and Luther Graham have been pillars in their neighborhood church and Ms. Ira taught Sunday School. They were in need of repair to a broken fence, pressure washing to prevent the spread of mildew, and some light landscaping.
Through their first bible study partnership, Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church sent out the “Disciples of Change” to serve these two residents in the very first Neighborhood Revitalization Restored Housing event.
The projects were finished on time and the volunteers had a fantastic time. At bible study a few days later, everyone was laughing about memories of the weekend and asking when they can sign up for the next one. Additionally, one of Ms. Gore’s children approached us wanting to sign up as a volunteer for the next project. That is a real proof of success in my opinion!
This is a quote that I recently wrote for the FPC end of year magazing to capture our sentiments about the success of the day.
“Danielle Lewis and I have been honored to be a part of the “Disciples of Change” bible study, to see racial reconciliation at work in our community, and to walk out our faith through service with our new friends. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for these two churches and this group’s commitment to Neighborhood Revitalization. God is restoring people, relationships, and places as we are seeking Shalom together. He’s really doing it!” – Meagan Michal, Neighborhood Revitalization Director at Habitat for Humanity of Horry County.