Five Points, Denver
We couldn’t call ourselves Love Your Hood if we didn’t actually love our hood. And doing that well calls us to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. “Litter”-ally.
What’s the big deal about alleys?
In other parts of the world, alleys weren’t originally created for garages and garbage. They started out as public spaces. Many historic alleys even contained stores, restaurants, bars, and parks.
Needless to say, most of the alleys in Denver don’t currently have this high of a calling. They’re typically sources of frustration for residents in dealing with things from strewn trash and graffiti, to drug dealing and other non-welcome behavior. Keep up with the beat on neighborhood Facebook groups like Curtis Park Neighbors or Old San Rafael Neighborhood Organization and you’ll get a glimpse of the trouble with alleys.
Why do you all clean them?
Love Your Hood is all about connecting people to place and ultimately people to people. Helping to reclaim spaces in our neighborhoods that can be used to bring the community together, or at least not be a source of frustration, is a huge win. Quite frankly, cleaning up our alleys is the first step to creating spaces that people actually want to be in. (And typically places full of trash, just aren’t one of them… unless you’re a toddler living at our house — then you just might.)
The second (and more important) reason we clean alleys is to connect the people that share the space. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for folks to have never met the people that live on their block or that share the same alley. So, we throw alley cleaning parties and invite all the residents to hopefully help them connect and take pride in their shared space.
Can’t you all do something bigger to help the neighborhood?
I suppose that depends on the definition of “bigger.” A few of the reasons why we do what we do:
- We believe in starting where you are… using what you have, and doing what you can.
- We’re okay getting our hands dirty. There are some insanely fun and glamorous ways to raise money for a good cause. We applaud them (and want to join in)! Cleaning alleys… never gonna be glam. And it’s okay, it’s just a job that needs to be done.
- We want to make it easy to involve other people. Our team is in all different seasons of life. Mark and I found that volunteering became difficult after having kids — especially with little ones. It wasn’t just not wanting to have to find a babysitter to volunteer, but also wanting to involve our kids so they could learn to serve others #startemyoung! We truly wanted a way to serve the community that would allow anyone to participate and invite others to join.
What alleys do you clean?
Where we work (and where some of our team lives!) is in the Five Points neighborhood, just north of downtown Denver. So, we start where we are. Until we can conquer the alleys in and around Five Points, this is where we will stay.
How can I get involved?
Wanna meet our swell faces and roll up your sleeves besides us? Send us your info (select “Volunteer Opportunities”) and we’ll keep you in the loop about upcoming events.