The Neighborhood Revitalization Program was designed by Habitat for Humanity International to help affiliates as they work to transform neighborhoods in their county. Habitat affiliates work alongside residents, nonprofits, businesses, local governments, and communities of faith to create and implement a shared vision of revitalization. Habitat for Humanity- DeKalb has expanded the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to the target community of Clarkston, Georgia. Clarkston is home to over 150 ethnicities and is know as the “refugee melting pot.” In the mid-1990s, programs geared toward refugee resettlement distinguished Clarkston as an ideal community for displaced persons of various international backgrounds.
We listened to the needs and goals of the Clarkston residents then we brought together different groups that could make the ideas reality. Based on the information gathered in a Community Engagement Survey we accomplished the following:
- In collaboration with the Clarkston Community Center staff, a fence was built around the community garden and a greenhouse and storage shed were built.
- In partnership with The Lantern Project, a 5-week summer youth training program that teaches high school students electrical work, welding, masonry, and carpentry was developed and implemented.
- Bookshelves were built and distributed through the Clarkston Early Learning Network for younger children to promote childhood literacy.
Neighborhood Revitalization efforts have also included beautifying Clarkston community schools such as the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf and Indian Creek Elementary School. The scope of work included clean-up, landscaping, blind installation, fence building, developing outdoor classrooms, and painting foursquare games. According to Kerri Watson, Assistant to the Principal of Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, “The improvements superseded our expectations.”
Some of the Indian Creek Elementary School Faculty & Staff were brought to tears upon seeing the new additions to their school. “We are so appreciative and grateful for all the help Habitat for Humanity – DeKalb provided us. Our school looks beautiful,” expressed Dr. Antonette Campbell, Principal of Indian Creek Elementary School. It takes many hands to build a community and no hand is too small! To get involved in our Clarkston Neighborhood Revitalization efforts email Daniella Jackson, Community Outreach Coordinator.