REAP kicked off its neighborhood beautification efforts on April 25, 2018 in celebration of Earth Day by cleaning up the area and planting flowers around MLK and South Grand Avenue. Neighborhood beautification was identified during the REAP engagement sessions as a top priority. Aaron Pinkston-El was selected as our beautification leader and MLK Boulevard between Cook and South Grand was chosen as our target area. The Family Communications Centers coordinated the activities and provided delicious kabobs cooked by J Squared.
We contacted the City of Springfield who provided us with vests, gloves and garbage bags and we inquired about the Adopt-A-Street program. After our second clean-up in this area, we decided to pursue an official Adopt-A-street designation which requires three clean-ups per year in our target area to earn our official Adopt-A-Street sign.
At our second clean-up on November 10, 2018, we received some unexpected support from the guys at the barber shop. When Christopher Jones learned our grill connection fell through and we couldn’t cook food for our volunteers, he went back into the barber shop, took up a collection to purchase us a grill and went and bought one for us saving the day for our hungry crew. So don’t forget to support Trim Setter Barber Studios for all your hair care needs.
In 2019, Allissa Hall, Aaron Pinkston-El and DeAndre Neal coordinated four successful community clean-ups along our target area officially earning us our Adopt-A-Street sign from the City. The final clean-up was conducted in partnership with Alderman Shawn Gregory and, for the first time, we released a press notice on the event. The State Journal-Register included a short blurb and several new community members participated as a result. WANDTV shot video and interviewed DeAndre Neal. Our continued presence and steadfast effort have established trust in the neighborhood and two area businesses are conducting regular cleanings of their areas.
In 2020, UAct supported and participated in REAP Adopt-A-Street cleanups and REAP READs, an exciting new book delivery program for kids in Poplar Place, Brandon Court and Lake Victoria led by Allissa Hall.