The Extreme Community Makeover team kicked off the spring season last week with our first work day of the year! Saturday, April 11th we were out in the Barnum district of Denver with a group of dedicated volunteers and plenty of alley clean up, park cleanup and individual resident work.
The day started at Bethany United Methodist Church, who was gracious enough to allow ECM to use their facility as our base. Volunteers joined us from AmeriCorp, Heritage High School’s student council group, as well as plenty of individuals looking to lend a hand. The teams were deployed around Barnum with roughly 15 different projects to complete during the day.
One of the more memorable projects of the day was the Cedar Park clean up. A small, corner lot park that needed some love after the winter months. ECM transformed Cedar Park from an overgrown, weed covered lot, into a freshly mowed and manicured park for summer. During our work at the park, I had the opportunity to chat with April Crumley, a passionate, caring resident of Barnum and fantastic supporter of ECM. Between pulling weeds and raking, April told us stories of the history of Barnum. She covered the legends of Barnum & Bailey owning elephants in the area, and educated us on the history of Civil War General Hooker, from whom Hooker Street takes its name.
Talking with April, you could feel her passion for her neighborhood. She spoke so highly of the area, the residents and the potential at every corner. She also told us about the non-profit she leads, Concerned Citizens for Barnum. Since 1974, this neighborhood organization has had the mission to promote community responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in their local government by implementation of positive, patriotic, fraternal, historical and educational objectives and to preserve and strengthen unity among its members, and in our community by promoting good health welfare, and environmental beautification. It was incredible to hear that for 40 years, April has been working on the improvement of Barnum.
Working alongside April to help clean up Barnum gave myself, and other volunteers an incredible sense of pride. It quickly became more than just a ‘work day’ because you could see and discuss how ECM’s efforts were impacting the residents. Like-minded people, working on a shared vision for one of Denver’s incredible neighborhoods.
We can’t wait for more work days, more neighborhoods, and more people like April.