UNITY receives $5,000 grant from neighborhood group

Members of UNITY dis-play their $5,000 check from Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods.

UNITY receives $5,000 grant from neighborhood group
June 16
07:00 2016


UNITY (United neighbors involved in transforming Youth) Neighborhood Association has been awarded a $5,000 grant by Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods.

UNITY was awarded the grant to support its Teen Lawn Care Program, which is designed to provide part-time jobs for teenagers in the community served by UNITY Neighborhood Association. Those areas include Northeast 25th, 24th and 23rd, Ansonia and Manchester Street, Elbon and Caledonia Drive, and the Le Derea Crest community.

The Teen Lawn Care Program will entail the use of lawn care products to beautify the community and provide useful skills for the teenagers chosen to participate in the program. This project was chosen because of the growing number of unkempt lawns in the community and the growing number of elderly residents who are not physically capable of cutting their lawns themselves.

This activity will help build self-esteem in the participants as well as the residents. It will also make the community more attractive and result in more pride among community residents.

UNITY was awarded a grant in a similar amount last year. Participants in the program cut lawns last summer, raked leaves last fall and shoveled snow during the winter months. Dorothy Bonner, UNITY president, said the program was a big success last year and this year’s grant will allow the organization to further extend its services.

“We are so thankful of NBN for them awarding us this grant for the second straight year,”Bonner said. “As a community advocate for more than 35 years, it does me so much good to see this program and know how it impacted the youth last year. I look forward to another great summer of working with these young people and seeing them accomplish their goals.”

Last year’s grant helped UNITY acquire equipment and pay stipends to participants. This year the funds will be used for stipends and adding additional participants.

“We have five participants [Shakara Johnson, Maricia Davis, Alexandria Douthit, Dontay Friende and Mikhail Wilson] from last year who will continue in the program,” said Sam Davis, a community resident who is the program’s supervisor. “This year we are adding nine more participants, to give us a total of 14 teens in the program. We’re hoping the program will continue to grow even larger in the future.”

Davis also is vice president of UNITY.

Beneficiaries of this service will be given an opportunity to make donations to the program. Representatives of the organization will make vis-its to the homes receiving services to inform the residents that they can continue to receive lawn care service for a nominal fee. The fees will be used to upkeep equipment and pay future stipends, thus making the program self-funding in the future.

UNITY Neighborhood Association was established in November 2014 to promote positive changes in the Bowen Park Neighborhood and to set up programs for community members to work together for its betterment. Members of the association work on a grassroots level to provide assistance to those in need and problem-solve on issues that relate to making the community more self-sufficient.

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