Love Your Block is a series of community projects determined by the residents and business owners in Huntington. Our program provides mini-grant funding for projects and ideas developed by community members to improve their neighborhoods and blocks through low cost, high impact change.
Love Your Block volunteers believe their efforts increase public safety and community ownership of public spaces. Past projects include turning vacant lots into public gardens, painting over graffiti with colorful murals, removing trash from playgrounds, and helping elderly neighbors with simple home repairs. Community volunteers are making their neighborhoods better places to live, work, and play.
The Love Your Block program in Huntington, West Virginia began when the city was chosen as one of ten cities awarded $25,000 to be used for funding that supports volunteer-fueled solutions developed by the community for the community. In addition, two AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in each winning city’s city hall to build capacity and raise awareness. The program is made possible with support from Cities of Service, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
Currently the Love your Block program has been able to continue with support of the City of Huntington and a partnership with the Preservation Alliance of WV and the WV state AmeriCorps program.
2021 GRANT APPLICATIONS - Now OPEN!
The LYB program is now accepting applications in both the West Huntington and Highlawn neighborhood. LYB Mini-grant Applications open May 10th, 2021. THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS MAY 31st, 2021.
Have questions about the application? Call one of our LYB Coordinators for assistance.
REQUIREMENTS FOR VOLUNTEER LED PROJECT APPLICATIONS:
The project is located in 1 of the 2 following target areas:
West Huntington- Between 1st Street and 28th Street West from river to rail
Highlawn- Between 24th Street and 31st Street from river to rail
The grant amount requested is at or below $1,000.
The project is led by volunteers recruited by the applicant and is supported by the community.
During the project, the applicant must coordinate a pick-up of litter in the area the project is located (we have litter pick-up tools that your team can use.)
Projects must fit into at least 1 of the 3 following Project Categories (see our LYB Project Idea sheet below for examples in each of the categories):
- Community Activities
- Litter Prevention Programs
- Beautification Projects
For more information about the requirements please see our 2021 LYB Applications or contact one of our Coordinators.
Hours of Operation: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and by appointment
Office Phone: (304) 696-5540 ext.2092
Fax: (304) 696-4465
LOVE YOUR BLOCK 2020-2021 COORDINATORS - AMERICORPS:
West Huntington Love Your Block Coordinator
Office Phone: (304) 696-5540 ext.2092
Katie Keefer recently graduated from Marshall University, receiving her MA in Psychology. During her graduate studies, her research interests were focused in the field of Health Psychology. She worked as a Graduate Assistant for Marshall’s Office of Intercultural Affairs, providing resources and welcoming environments for students from all backgrounds. Katie is a Huntington native who grew up in the Westmoreland area. She is very excited to be serving the city of Huntington as the AmeriCorps Love Your Block Coordinator and looks forward to creating a positive impact in her hometown.
Highlawn Love Your Block Coordinator
Office Phone: (304) 696-5540 ext. 2095
Kalyn Obiozor has 10 years of experience in education, training, dropout prevention and career readiness. Kalyn completed her Master of Arts in Non-profit and Public Agency from Marshall University in 2013, and her Bachelor of Business Administration in 2011. Prior to joining the Preserve WV Kalyn Obiozor served as a THINK Educator for Mission West Virginia. As part of her position, she traveled to different schools to provide life skills and reproductive health education to middle and high school students. Her first opportunity after completing her Master’s degree was with Jobs for West Virginia Gradates which led her to becoming The Senior job specialist in Wayne county schools providing career and leadership development curricula for program participants. Although Kalyn is not a Huntington native, she is very excited to be serving the City of Huntington she is committed to continue to build relationships for the purposes of accessing equity, education, social and economic sustainability in the community.
Love your Block 2019-2020 Celebrations
The LYB staff would like to celebrate and thank all the wonderful mini-grant recipients, volunteers, and partners we worked with during the LYB 2019-2020 grant year. Please join us in celebrating our projects by checking out our end of year celebration and virtual tour of a few of our mini-grant sites. Check out the youtube tour here and learn about all of our progress this year in our LYB Celebration presentation here.
Love your Block 2018-2019 Celebrations
Seven out of fifteen grants applicants were awarded funds in LYB West Huntington’s first service year, 2018-2019.
Two separate small home repair projects
Raised pollinator bee garden bed at The Wild Ramp
Street sign painting/refurbishing
Gazebo beautification effort
Community Sanctuary Lot transformation: Blessings Box and Tiny Library
Sidewalk repairs and tree planting
What is Love Your Block?
Love Your Block is an initiative to revitalize neighborhoods one block at a time, combating urban blight and making communities better places to live. Mini-grants and city resources will be provided to support the efforts of citizen groups and local nonprofits to fight blight through home repairs, lot transformations, and community cleanups. In addition, two AmeriCorps VISTA members are embedded in City Hall to build capacity and raise awareness for the program.
How did Love Your Block start?
The Love Your Block grant program began in 2009, led by New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the national nonprofit Cities of Service. Since then, Cities of Service has helped dozens of cities implement the program. In 2018, Huntington, alongside nine other legacy cities, was awarded $25,000 to be used for mini-grants and resources to support the efforts of citizen groups and local nonprofits to fight property blight through small home repairs, vacant lot activation, and community cleanups. In addition, two AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in each winning city’s city hall to build capacity and raise awareness.
Who is eligible to receive a grant?
Anyone! We welcome non-profits, individuals, and volunteer groups. We encourage anyone with an idea and a desire to help the West End to apply.
How much are the grants?
The amount of grant awards will depend on each project’s scope and outcomes.
The awarded grants will receive a maximum of $2,000.
What types of projects can be funded?
LYB projects can be wide-ranging, including service projects such as small home repairs, graffiti removal, tree planting, creating flower beds, and community gardens.
When will the next grant application window be?
The 2020 application will open February 1, 2020 and close March 15, 2020.
What/who are AmeriCorps ?
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more. Learn more here.
If I have more questions who can I talk to?
You can contact Love Your Block Coordinators, Katie Keefer and Kalyn Obiozor
Phone: 304-696-5540 ext. 2092
Office Phone: 304-696-5540 ext. 2095
Love Your Block - History
Love Your Block brings mayors together with citizens to revitalize their neighborhoods, one block at a time. From painting over graffiti with colorful murals to banishing trash from playgrounds, citizen volunteers are combating urban blight and making their blocks better places to live.
For its 2018 City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block program, Cities of Service awarded each winning city $25,000 to be used for mini-grants and resources to support the efforts of citizen groups and local nonprofits to fight property blight through home repairs, lot transformations, and community cleanups. In addition, two AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in each winning city’s city hall to build capacity and raise awareness. The program is made possible with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
A recent study by the Urban Institute found that the connection that Love Your Block forges between city leaders and citizens at the neighborhood level can be one of the most important catalysts for collective action by neighborhood residents. This connection between city officials and citizens boosts the social capital exercised by citizens who plan and implement Love Your Block projects and strengthens social cohesion. Love Your Block volunteers believe their efforts also positively influence public safety and community ownership of public spaces.
Cities of Service launched the first City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA program in 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama; Boston, Massachusetts; Lansing, Michigan; Phoenix, Arizona; Richmond, California; and Seattle, Washington.
Since 2009, Cities of Service has helped dozens of cities implement Love Your Block. More than 9,000 community members have revitalized more than 2,200 blocks, including removing 5.6 million pounds of trash, creating 900 art displays, cleaning 60,000 square feet of graffiti, repairing over 70,000 square feet of community space, and maintaining over 730,000 square feet of public space. Love Your Block is so successful that additional coalition cities have chosen to implement the Love Your Block Blueprint on their own, without grant funding from Cities of Service.