How does (or has) your neighborhood affected you?

Hello all!  Welcome to another riveting Building Futures blog post!

The neighborhoods in which we live or have lived are important to us. Neighborhoods can foster either positive or negative experiences that we either look at with a sense of nostalgia or a frown of disgust.   Good or bad, our neighborhoods both past and present inevitably become a part of us and are woven into the fabric of who we are to become. Our neighborhoods have a deep and lasting impression on us.


Have you ever taken the time to sit and think “How does or has your neighborhood affected you?” This question brings us to the topic of our blog today: the Building Futures Central Avenue Beautification Project.

So why would Building Futures want to beautify Central Avenue? Well, before we answer the “Why” lets answer the first question I posed “How does or has your neighborhood affected you?”

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s A Commission to Build a Healthier America, social and economic features of neighborhoods have been linked with mortality, general health status, disability, birth outcomes, chronic conditions, health behaviors and other risk factors for chronic disease, as well as with mental health injuries, violence and other important health indicators.

Now we can answer the next question, “Why would Building Futures want to beautify Central Avenue?” Answering this question is simple. Building Futures wants to beautify Central Avenue to maximize the positive effects and minimalize the negative affects that the neighborhood can have on the residents.

Why is Building Futures concerned about any of this?


Building Futures is concerned because of the pledge that you make when you become a member.   Every Building Futures staff member and student takes a pledge, a pledge that is recited every morning, a pledge I have had the fortune to repeat daily for four years now!  The pledge is as follows:

We, the members of Building Futures YouthBuild, pledge that we are working together to improve and rebuild our community, as a sustainable entity, implementing green strategies, methods, and materials; to relate to each other in cooperative ways; to develop our potential as leaders; to discover meaningful career pathways; to educate and improve ourselves and help others along the way; to respect our peers, neighbors, and all life; to be part of a great movement for justice, equality, and peace. All this we will do with compassion and dignity.

So you now understand how your neighborhood can impact residents, why Building Futures wants to beautify Central Avenue and the pledge that Building Futures has taken.


The goal of the Central Avenue Beautification Project is to identify the repair and beautification needs with the property owners and to help them meet those needs. At this time, the projected scope of work for most properties along Central Avenue will involve landscaping, structural repair, and painting or cleaning. Our expectation is that this will be an exciting partnership with the residents along Central Avenue and of benefit for all.

We will be starting at Central Circle and ending at a vacant lot on East 4th street where we plan to build a Pocket Park. The pocket park will feature raised garden beds and sitting areas as well as a community library box. Our work will effectively result in a much needed facelift for the street and, if successful, lead to other projects of this type in the Alton area.


We expect a large percentage of Central Avenue property owners will be willing to participate as Building Futures YouthBuild will be providing labor for the repairs free of charge. Any and all assistance is welcome.

This is a significant undertaking but one well worth the effort. In order for this project to reach its full potential, we are seeking assistance from those in the community. If you or your organization would like to participate or provide aid and or resources, please contact the following:

Sabrina Davis
Building Futures YouthBuild/ AmeriCorps
(618) 468-4150
5800 Godfrey Rd.
Godfrey, IL 62035

Dustin S. Massie
Adult Education Pathways Navigator
Building Futures YouthBuild/ AmeriCorps
(618) 468-4158
5800 Godfrey Rd.
Godfrey, IL 62035

Until the next time- Signing off!

Pat Mays,
YouthBuild Coordinator


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