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Love Your Block holds first civic engagement ceremony, honoring 13

November 17, 2017

Neighborhood Services

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Neighborhood Services

The event celebrated the important contributions that residents and organizations make in their local community.

Chief of Civic Engagement Jerome Smith along with Boston's neighborhood liaisons and community members yesterday honored 13 awardees who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their community. The awardees, who represent a cross-section of volunteer efforts in Boston, were honored at the first Civic Engagement Ceremony, hosted by Mayor Walsh's Love Your Block Initiative.

"I applaud all the award winners on receiving this honor and those who show everyday a commitment to improving the community around them," said Mayor Walsh. "These groups represent the best of Boston and show how anyone can get involved in making their neighborhood and the City a better place for all."
The award winners were nominated by Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services' Liaisons and residents, and were chosen by a selection committee made up of City of Boston employees. The award categories include: The Vacant Lot Revitalization Award, The Public Art & Beautification Award, Public Stewardship Award, Community Garden Award, Love Your Block Partnership Award and the Community Vanguard Award.
"Civic engagement is about building connections among neighbors in order to improve our communities and our city," said Vivian Morris, member of the Kennedy Gardeners, who was selected as the individual winner for an "Up and Coming Community Garden Award". "Community gardening is about neighbors working together to build a green space that provides healthy food for our families, lots of opportunity for physical activity, and collective investment in our community.  On behalf of the Kennedy Gardeners in the Edgewater Neighborhood of  Mattapan, I am deeply honored to be among those recognized by Mayor Walsh's office."
"Neighborhood transformation is often accomplished corner-by-corner and block-by-block," said Paul Malkemes, member of Boston Project Ministries, who was selected as a group winner for a Vacant Lot Revitalization Award. "Seeing a vacant lot transformed into a garden or park expresses the hope neighbors already have. We are grateful to the City for partnering with us [The Boston Project Ministries and TNT Neighbors United] to bring new life, fresh food, art, health and peace to our community."
The Love Your Block initiative was created in 2015 through a grant issued by Cities of Service, a national non-profit that specializes in training and assisting residents to actively engage with local government. These interactions include collaborating on beautification projects, and training community-groups on how to maintain stewardship of public spaces. Love Your Block is part of the Mayor's Civic Engagement Cabinet.
The complete list of Award winners can be found here:
  • Vivian Morris, Individual winner for an "Up and Coming Community Garden Award" who took a vacant parcel of land and created a community-wide garden for residents to enjoy in Mattapan.
  • Liz Miranda for the Hawthorne Youth Community Center, Group winner for an "Up and Coming Community Garden Award" which transformed outdoor spaces into gardens that are utilized by their youth program Grow It, Cook It, Share It in Roxbury.
  • Luis Cotto, Individual Winner for "Vacant Lot Revitalization Award" for his leadership role in the transformation of two vacant spaces on the border of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. The first lot is called the Peace Garden, located on the corner of School Street & Washington Street. The second lot, soon to be known as Robert Lawson Park, is on the corner of Atherton Street & Columbus Avenue.
  • Paul Malkemes for the Boston Project Ministries, Group winner for the "Vacant Lot Revitalization Award" where they created two vibrant public parks and one plentiful community garden where rubble from demolished buildings once sat 20 years ago in Dorchester.
  • Kalamu Kieta for Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Organization - "Vacant Lot Revitalization Award" where DSNI transformed a vacant lot, creating an art installation called 'Our Tierra Livri' in Roxbury.
  • Cathy Horn, Individual - "Public Stewardship Award" for her leadership role in the grassroots community groups - Hyde Park Litter Patrol Group and Keep Hyde Park Beautiful.
  • Jeff Chasin for Roslindale Clean & Green, Group- "Public Stewardship Award" for their leadership role in creating and improving green spaces for the community in Roslindale.
  • Nuestra Comunidad, Organization- "Public Stewardship Award" for organizing high-impact community street clean-ups. Nuestra hosts an annual 'Cleanest Streets Contest' bringing out hundreds of volunteers to clean streets in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods.
  • Alley Michell for Powerful Pathways, Organization- "Art Beautification Award" their Mattapan Open Streets / Open Studios program. Powerful Pathways is a social practice and consultancy that works in policy, community development and the arts using creative tools and design thinking methods.
  • Mayor's Mural Crew, Group - "Art Beautification Mural Award" for their "To Immigrants, With Love" Mural in East Boston.
  • Mfalme Kenyatta, Individual - "Art Beautification Award" for his artistic contributions to the Roxbury neighborhood.  Kenyatta's art is on display on utility boxes outside the Post Office on Blue Hill and Seaver Street.
  • Gene Corbin for Harvard University, "2017 Partnership Award" for their outstanding dedication to keeping the Allston neighborhood clean by providing numerous volunteer opportunities to students.
  • Nicole Flynt, "2017 Community Vanguard Award" for her 20+ years of service to the Roxbury community through activism and community-based projects.
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