Homes in the Montgomery, Alabama Garden Square neighborhood can be found in various conditions. Some are boarded up, some reflect the natural wear and tear that comes with age, but others have felt the caring effects of a hammer, saw, paintbrush and shovel through revitalization efforts of the city and Transformation Montgomery.
The neighborhood is experiencing a transformation however, the revitalization efforts hadn’t quite reached Garden Square’s core: the community center. Adjacent to the neighborhood, the 7,500 sq. ft. former industrial building serves as the area’s hub where residents can acquire life-skills, learn about finance and affordable home ownership and children can participate in after-school programs. The hodgepodge of old paneled offices, out-of-date bathrooms and aged wiring hasn’t been conducive to learning and is in dire need of a remodel.
Transformation Montgomery is a nonprofit community-development organization that seeks to transform people and communities in Montgomery, Alabama out of poverty through affordable home ownership, community renewal, and life-skills mentoring and training.
The Center of Attention
Thanks to nearly 30 local Charter Communications volunteers and Rebuilding Together Central Alabama, the transformation of a neighborhood has begun. This September, Charter our Community volunteers helped facilitate the community center’s metamorphosis into a more efficient usable space for Garden Square residents. The project included demolishing and building walls, painting the exterior of the center and installing irrigation.
“I’ve had a lot of fun,” said John Harmon, a Charter technical and safety trainer. “I’ve been blessed a lot in my life. A lot of people have invested in me, so anytime I get a chance to invest back into the community or into other people’s lives, I like to take that opportunity.”
LaQueta Savage, a Garden Square resident, is grateful. She visits the center several times each week and is looking forward to more programs being offered there. “I like the change that I’m seeing. It’s actually at a place right now where you’re seeing the transformation within a community,” said Savage.
The positive changes are also being experienced by LaQueta’s sixteen-year-old son, Caliph, who participates in the center’s tutoring program. “I’ve learned a lot of stuff that will make me into a productive citizen. Last year, I was a C student, and this year I’m getting straight A’s,” said Savage. “I’m thankful. I’m really thankful, because this center, it was a work in progress. Charter is just unbelievable. I don’t even know how to explain it.”
I’m thankful. I’m really thankful, because this center, it was a work in progress. Charter is just unbelievable. I don’t even know how to explain it.
Other children of the Garden Square neighborhood appreciate the remodeling of the community center, too. Some created cards for the Charter our Community volunteers.
Words of Thanks
“It’s very heartwarming and I love seeing the ‘thank you’ notes the kids made for us. That was just such an incredible thing. It’s showed gratitude. Volunteering makes me feel very rich inside,” said Lisa Silver, Charter area associate marketing representative.
Montgomery, Alabama Mayor Todd Strange also expressed his gratitude. “Anytime an organization that’s willing to come in and help us do the things that need to be done to remove blight, to create environments where people can learn, whether it’d be youth or adults – that is a great step. We’re working to rebuild a lot of these houses, but to have a community center at the heart and soul, it’s a really good jumping off point. That will propel this community forward.”
Watch the video above to see the work done by Charter and Rebuilding Together volunteers in transforming a neighborhood.
A look at the inside of the community center before work got underway
Charter our Community volunteers start work outside the community center
Charter our Community volunteers paint the outside wall of the community center
Charter volunteer Donna does some outside irrigation work
Charter our Community volunteers tear out a wall inside the community center
Charter our Community volunteers work on a interior wall of the community center
A Charter volunteer does demolition work around a door frame
Volunteers raise a wall inside the community center
More outdoor painting by Charter our Community volunteers
The Spectrum Reach video crew films volunteers painting the community center