Hundreds help clean and green neighborhoods in West Philly

More than 500 people joined ACHIEVEability to help with the beautification effort to promote civic pride.

Building a picnic table

Workers put together a picnic table as part of the neighborhood beautification event. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY

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City leaders gathered in West Philadelphia for a celebration in the form of a neighborhood beautification project.

The ACHIEVEability Impact Day is part of the group’s effort to break the cycle of poverty for West Philadelphia families through education, affordable housing, supportive services, community and economic development.

People standing outside for an event
Hundreds turned out for the event to help beautify West Philadelphia. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

ACHIEVEability’s Jamila Harris Morrison said about 500 volunteers are focused on making the area around 60th and Marke streets cleaner and greener.

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“We’re going to be painting porches for residents, giving them a fresh coat of paint on the porch, the banister, planter boxes,” she said. The work also includes “exterior window cleaning and getting new mailboxes built and address numbers. We’re going to be cleaning over 50 blocks in our community today.”

The groups also opened community gardens for the upcoming season, helped local businesses with interior and exterior improvements and worked on general block beautification efforts.

“We’ve already heard from our neighbor saying, ‘Hey, this makes me feel so good,’” Morrison said. We have many residents say, ‘How can I volunteer? How can I participate?’ So it’s just a really great collaborative effort, including the private sector, over 20 Community Partners, and our wonderful West Philadelphia Neighbors.”

Councilmember Curtis Jones told volunteers they will do more than beautify homes and parks.

“Poverty doesn’t have to be a place. Poverty is in your mind,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be in your daily space, and that’s what you’re proving today — that it is a mindset.”

Curtis Jones speaking into a microphone at a rally
Councilmember Curtis Jones speaks at the community day of impact in West Philadelphia. (Tom MacDonald?WHYY)

Speaker of the Pa. state House Joanna McClinton spoke about how the volunteers were helping people who just can’t keep up with some of their maintenance items.

“We are thrilled to see you all taking time out of your day, out of your schedule to give back,” she said. “There’s so many awesome neighbors who do not have the physical strength to paint right now. They did for many many years. There’s so many of our seniors that are not able to get out and roll up their sleeves, but to every single one of you who are here, we are grateful and we’re excited to spring into the new season where we see so many good, beautiful, bountiful blessings in our neighborhood.”

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The volunteers included more than 150 from Urban Outfitters, whose headquarters are located in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

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