Ivy City Veterans Day Project
ServiceNation: Mission Serve plans to host 11 high profile service projects in 11 cities across the country on 11/11/11. The “Veterans Day 11/11/11” event is a call to service, made possible by support from our valued corporate partners Bank of America, Dell, and the Academy of Country Music. With Bank of America’s assistance, and in partnership with the nonprofit organizations, Blue Star Families and Habitat for Humanity, the Ivy City neighborhood of Washington, DC will be the location for one of our high profile projects. Each of our service projects will bring together the civilian and military communities to focus on civilian-military integration through shared service.
Ivy City is a small neighborhood in Northeast Washington. It is one of the oldest and smallest communities in Washington, DC. The city has suffered from a tumultuous past and is still one of the poorest parts of the district. Historically, Ivy City’s main economic focus was on the railroad industry. At the industry’s downturn, Ivy City suffered immensely, andresidents were pushed into poverty. Recently, there has been a push to revitalize the neighborhood.
Former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Administration helped to develop the Ivy City Revitalization Initiative. The Initiative planned to redevelop 37 vacant properties into affordable housing. Council-member Harry Thomas, Jr., who helped to secure funding for the Home Again Initiative, stated, “Ivy City has long suffered from disinvestment, drug activity, and a host of environmental crimes like illegal dumping.” Additionally, Fenty noted that vacant properties have been the source of crisis for the community.
Historically, Habitat for Humanity has often worked on projects with veterans and military members and their families. Habitat International is constantly seeking to support veterans initiatives in the communities around the country and expanding strategies and programs from engaging veterans. Additionally, Habitat for Humanity organizes projects that engage veterans and active duty military service members. This is displayed in its ability to organize events such as the collaborative efforts of veterans, active duty military service members and AmeriCorps members who worked together to build in Annapolis and Baltimore with Habitat Chesapeake this past year.
In conjunction with Bank of America and Habitat for Humanity, Blue Star Families has also agreed to partner on the Ivy City service event. Blue Star Families was created by military families. Their goal is to “support, connect and empower military families.” You can find more information about Blue Star Families by visiting their website. The organization’s role in the Ivy City service Event will drive volunteer labor from the military community. Simultaneously, Bank of America associates will participate in the service event, representing the larger civilian community.
The gentrification of Ivy City will continue with a number of rehab and rebuild projects. Servicemembers will be working on one or more of the construction projects. Civilian volunteers will work on the Habitat site build, help to construct new picnic tables and assist in neighborhood cleanup. We are hoping to be joined by representatives from the government sector, the private sector, the entertainment industry, and nonprofit sector to speak. This collaborative effort is symbolic of the unity between cross-sector organizations, corporations, and people. Veteran’s Day is a national day of celebration and service and it is vital that all individuals continue to work collaboratively in service.