Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Volunteers deliver flowering plants to beautify the 500 & 600 blocks of N. Drake. (Photo by Nilesh Patil)
 On Saturday, June 4, more than 100 volunteers from Neighborhood Housing Services and their corporate partners teamed up with 30 homeowners and their families on the 500 & 600 blocks of North Drake in West Humboldt Park to paint porches, plant flowers, trim hedges, and spread mulch. Volunteers and residents worked side by side all day in the 90-degree heat to complete the block transformations as part of NHS Chicago’s 24th Annual NeighborWorks Day.
    The two blocks of Drake, extending north from Franklin Boulevard, were chosen for NeighborWorks Day to support the longtime beautification and improvement efforts of Annie Jones, 500 North Drake Block Club President, and Flourine Jones and her husband, 600 North Drake Block leaders. For the Joneses, NeighborWorks Day will have lasting effects in bringing to fruition their vision of what their blocks can be.
    “I have strived for years to make my block a block where people don’t want to move away and I believe we are having success,” declares Annie Jones. “NeighborWorks Day was a great help, especially to our seniors, and I will continue my work to make my block a place I can enjoy for what years I have left.”

Evelyn Rieves & her cousin Amber Hailey transform her front porch. (Photo by Rick Hicaro)

Longtime West Humboldt Park resident Lynda Pinson chats with NHS West Humboldt Neighborhood Dir. John Groene during NeighbborWorks Day. (Photo by Nilesh Patil)
 Flourine Jones adds, “The next day at Sunday Mass, neighbors from nearby blocks commented that everyone should take a walk down Drake to see the improvements.” She stressed that NeighborWorks provided encouragement to all her neighbors and is pleased that the block cleanup will be visible long after the NeighborWorks Day.
    Alderman Walter Burnett and State Representative Derrick Smith toured the blocks and visited with families to find ways to build upon their success and share the lessons learned with other parts of the community. Alderman Burnett also attended the annual block club meeting hosted by Annie Jones the following Saturday.
    Coinciding with NeighborWorks Day, community volunteers from NHS, West Humboldt Park Development Council, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), and Alderman Burnett hosted the West Humboldt Park Farmer’s Market & Bazaar in the parking lot of the West Humboldt NHS Office at 3601 West Chicago Avenue.
    NHS thanks longtime corporate partners – Travelers Insurance and MC Financial – plus Madison Capital Funding, Metropolitan Capital Bank, Pan American Bank, Nationwide Insurance, and Century 21. Special recognition is extended to the West Humboldt Neighborhood Advisory Council, especially to Nita Hailey-Gamble, Renee Watson and James Webb.
    The NHS West Humboldt Park Office, 3601 West Chicago Avenue, offers homebuying counseling and classes, fixed-rate lending services, including loans for construction rehab, and other resources to help Chicagoans buy, fix, and keep their homes. For information, call 773/533-5570 or visit www.nhschicago.org.

More than 100 volunteers helped clean and beautify the 500 & 600 blocks of Drake during NHS-Chicago’s 24th Annual NeighborWorks Day, June 4. (Photo by Keiron Scott)

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