On Saturday June 15th, we partnered with the North Central Block Club Association to bring 8 new trees to Twork Park near McNichols and Conant, northeast of Highland Park. Our neighborhood contact for this community was Alita Moore. Alita first reached out to The Greening of Detroit to get trees for Twork Park back in the Fall of 2018. It was her patience and diligence, in working with both the City of Detroit and us, that brought those trees to the park. While corresponding with Alita over the course of 6 months, I came to find out that her connection to The Greening of Detroit and working in service to her community stretched back much further than Fall 2018.
The following is a series of questions and answers we exchanged recently, lightly edited for length and clarity:
You mentioned that The Greening of Detroit was your first job. Can you tell us about that? Were you in the Green Corps Program? How was the experience?
Alita: I tried out for The Greening of Detroit, Green Corps, the summer before my freshman year of high school in 1999. It was a very competitive tryout by the way and yes, very hot! We had to prove that we had dedication and perseverance. These were 5 Gallon buckets we were carrying from the fire hydrants to each tree. That’s when I knew that I had a strong work ethic and a determination to always get the job done.
It was the best experience, I must say! Being outside, nourishing the environment and making it even more beautiful. My team was all over the city, going from site to site watering trees, all in good company with much laughter on our routes. Making a difference in my city, beautifying the communities, gaining life skills, making friends, all while getting paid too. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!
Now you’re an active member of the North Central Block Club Association. How long have you been involved in NCBCA? What are some hopes and dreams of the block club?
Alita: I have been involved with the NCBCA since 2011, when I moved back to Michigan. I assisted the president Dr. Cheryl Moore in making the block club a nonprofit in 2015. Serving as a board member and project manager, I hope to continue hearing, identifying and addressing the needs of the community. I plan to continue pushing the envelope in bringing cutting-edge, innovative programming.
This is only the beginning of our community programming and development that we have planned as the excitement only continues. We will embark on much more cutting edge, innovative initiatives that promote neighborhood revitalization, development and community synergy. The association aims to address a wide range of community development needs by improving housing, ensuring suitable living environments, and expanding economic opportunities.
You recently partnered with The Greening of Detroit on a Community Tree Planting in Twork Park where we planted 8 new trees. What inspired you to improve Twork Park and the surrounding area?
Alita: Having completed many beautification initiatives, we have upgraded each park within our association boundaries with Twork Park being the last. We have done cleanups, boarded up the houses surrounding the parks, planted trees and look to upgrade the playground equipment.
What inspired us to partner with The Greening of Detroit, is their long standing commitment to the community and the City of Detroit. The resources, volunteers, expertise and willingness to lend a helping hand made it a very easy choice. Over the years, communities and the youth have benefited from the opportunities you bring and now we can be included in that achievement.
Why are trees important to you?
Alita: Trees are not only an important element of nature, but they are vital! As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen. Trees symbolize life and having a good solid foundation. In planting, I learned that how you center the base dictates how it will develop and sustain when matured. We can always learn a lesson or two from our environment.
If we do not take care of our environment, how can we expect a greener environment in the future?
We had a project in 2017 where we installed an art sculpture of a tree. The tree symbolizes Life, in which it was named “The Tree of Life.” This tree was erected to bring life and breathe revitalization back to the neighborhood.
What’s something you think people should know about your community?
Alita: NCBCA endeavors to assemble residents and coordinate their efforts toward neighborhood revitalization, development and fostering unity throughout the community.
Our block club meetings provide a safe and nurturing place, where neighborhood residents can receive resources, learn what’s going on in the community and about opportunities and events throughout the year. Residents come out every second Tuesday, at the 11th Precinct to learn first-hand how their community is being impacted by local, state and federal legislation. Our guest speakers from all industries come to share knowledge and expertise.
We hope to move to a brick and mortar community center in the next year, which will serve as our headquarters and a resource center for the community and continue developing the best programming and resources.