Leaders from the Fatherhood Encouragement Project believe by bringing together residents from all over the Stateline for a major clean up, they can improve the city in one of the most needy areas of town.
Residents spread out putting in effort to improve Rockford through a new program — Adopt-A-Block. Multiple volunteers cleaned up a southeast neighborhood. Afterwards, they hosted a free block party for the residents in the area.
Saturday, six blocks between 10th and 12th Avenues, just north of Broadway, were spruced up. Organizers say 300+ people signed up to help.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that so many people care about the City of Rockford,” said organizer Danial Petrie. “[It’s a great feeling that] they come together for something like this.”
Among the hundreds of volunteers was 10 year-old Jordyn Currin. He says he wanted to do his part to improve the community he lives in.
“I’m helping clean the community here,” said Currin. “[I’m helping] to make it a better and brighter place.”
“We wanted to come in here, build relationship with the residents,” said Petrie. “[We wanted to] introduce residents to residents because we know when neighbors know neighbors, crime decreases.”
Petrie says because this area is the sixth most dangerous in the country per capita — cleaning it up is a priority. Volunteers hope Saturday’s clean up is the first ripple in creating a lifetime effect.
“This isn’t just another program,” said Petrie. “I think a lot of people look at stuff like this and say ‘Oh it’s just a clean up, but it’s not going to do anything’. The reality is what we’re doing is not just clean up, that’s a tool. We’re really creating relationships with the residents.”
Currin believes it’s already working. While it was hard for him to get up early this morning — he says it was all worth it.
“Because we’re doing nice things, people are thanking us for cleaning the community up.”
The next Adopt-A-Block is taking place on May 12th. Organizers say registration is open.