Revitalize and 'Love Your Block' with $1,000 grant

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If trash is piling up in your neighborhood, or certain blocks need a little TLC, you're in luck; the city is accepting applications for its "Love Your Block" grant program.

Beatriz Rivera is only 16, but she's already invested in her community near Van Buren and 15th Street in Phoenix and ready to help clean it up.

"You get to meet new people you get to walk around, get to know the place a little more and it's a trash-free community," Rivera said.

On Saturday, the fenced-off area with overgrown green will become a full-fledged garden, thanks to a $1,000 grant through "Love Your Block."

"I feel like it's going to get more people to come here, because not a lot of people come here," she said.

The money comes from the non-profit "Cities of Service" and the program is run through the City of Phoenix and AmeriCorps. Over the past three years, they've awarded $30,000.

"When a space looks like it's more well-kept, people don't want to participate in criminal behavior because it looks like people are going to report them," said Lenny Gross from AmeriCorps. He said the "Love your Block" program is based on the broken window theory.  And he said people often recruit businesses to pitch in some money, too.

"You can say, hey, I won this grant money, will you chip in too?'" Gross said. "And they're incentivized because they're stakeholders in the area."
Rivera said she can't wait to see her neighborhood blossom. 

"People will respect it more and respect their environment," she said.

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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