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Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013

Heroes of the Week: Groundwork Milwaukee Volunteers

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The locally organized and controlled nonprofit Groundwork Milwaukee (GWM), part of the national organization Groundwork USA, works to develop community-based partnerships in the greater Milwaukee area in order to transform old industrial sites, vacant lots and/or abandoned places into revitalized, neighborhood-friendly spaces. In addition, this environmental organization offers educational and outreach opportunities, including summer employment for high school students focused on basic carpentry and math skills, job readiness training, urban farming programs for young adults, and school presentations to kids about gardening and protecting our waters. GWM also assists and manages more than 50 gardens through their Milwaukee Urban Gardens program.

“We listen to what the neighborhood wants to create and then work with them to develop a plan,” says GWM Outreach Coordinator Antoine Carter. “We take vacant lots where homes were razed and, with the ideas and leadership of the community, we partner to make their vision come true. In most cases, people want to turn a vacant lot near them into a community garden or a pocket park. We do this with the hopes of starting the change that leads to people caring more about their environment, having access to healthy foods and hopefully bringing in business that will create more jobs.”

Volunteers are the driving force behind GWM and are needed before winter to help build compost bins and raised beds and to prep gardens. In the spring, volunteers are wanted to help get community gardens ready for the summer, assist with river cleanups, aid in restoration work along the Kinnickinnic River and much more. Donations are always welcome and can be made at groundworkmke.org or through payroll deductions via Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee. For more information, contact Carter at 414-763-9947 or groundworkac@gmail.com.