Love Your Block is a neighborhood revitalization and beautification initiative where neighborhoods are selected based on their application which identifies a community need that can be addressed through volunteer service projects. For 2016, the program received 38 application which is more than any other program in the nation. These awards equaled a total of $33,000.
This initiative provides an opportunity for residents and local volunteers to partner with the City of Birmingham to transform blighted areas into community assets. In doing so, the City will:
- Create a safe environment for families to thrive
- See a reduction in crime
- Empower residents
- 5,000 volunteers will have worked 20,000 volunteer hours on service projects
Applications are accepted from a volunteer-let group based in all 99 neighborhoods of the City of Birmingham. Awards will enable neighbors to collaborate to make healthy food available in their communities, transform empty lots into community gardens, remove graffiti, plant trees, organize block clean-up teams, tenants to advocate for better housing conditions, and replace broken street lights, cover potholes, start recycling programs, as well as engage neighbors of diverse backgrounds.
Annually the Mayor’s Office partners with residents, community organizations, faith-based organizations and the business community to plan and implement two Days of Service:
MLK Day of Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Each year citizens of the greater Birmingham region pay tribute to one of our city’s most famous visitors by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, President Barak Obama’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.
Service to others is a big part of MLK Day celebrations in Birmingham. In 2016 the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement team partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Community Policing & Revitalization to conduct surveys in the City of Birmingham to see where the problem areas lie and what needs to be done to make the communities feel safe in their neighborhoods as well as with police officers.
Empowerment Week Day of Service (September 11th)
Beginning in 2013, the span of time from September 11th through September 15th is known as “Empowerment Week.” During this time, the nation pauses to remember the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama – formally known as “Bomingham” and as the heart of the movement of the 1960s. In recognition of the call to serve that residents had during the civil rights, we call on our residents to give service to our city. On September 11, 2015 hundreds of city employees gathered around the city to wash police cars. Additionally, the city partnered with Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School and John Carroll High school to beautify Legion Field by painting fences and putting mulch around the trees.
City Employees at the West precinct and Holy Family and John Carroll High Schoolers pose for a picture in front of Legion Field
KaBoom playground builds are the quintessential public private partnership model. The City of Birmingham plans to build on its successful partnership with KaBoom by selecting other parks and play spaces that may be good candidates for future KaBoom playground builds. The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement will be charged with finding corporate and business partners to work with Park and Recreation as well as neighborhoods to upgrade and rebuild our city’s play spaces.
Any group, organization or business is welcome to participate. Generally, adoption partners agree to volunteer a minimum of two days per year. The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement will complete an Adoption Agreement with each partner, detailing the Partner’s Commitment. Business adoptees receive signage, inclusion of logos on project t-shirts and the opportunity to have a booth a community events. In-Kind and monetary contributions from business adoptees are vital to show community volunteers that they are appreciated.
Neighborhood adoptees often provide support such as:
- Food and water for volunteers
- Gardening and construction tools
- Trash bags, pick-up sticks, gloves and other supplies
- Safety vests
Contributions from adopting companies have ranged from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
KaBoom Project at Hemphill Elementary 2014