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Brownsville gets beautified

volunteers lend a hand to deserving families

Ashley Montgomery | 11/21/2013, 9 a.m.
As we head into the holiday season, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida [NHSSF] is in the spirit of giving. ...
LaTonda James

As we head into the holiday season, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida [NHSSF] is in the spirit of giving. Last Friday, NHSSF hosted a small beautification project in Miami’s Brownsville community.

NHSSF is a non-profit “one-stop-shop” that targets Brownsville and Liberty City with initiatives like empowering individuals, creating affordable housing opportunities, and revitalizing neighborhoods, according to their website.

This particular project — provided through a grant funded by Wells Fargo — not only focused on providing three well-deserving low- to median-income families with landscaping renovations but also involved youth community volunteers.

“Mr. Joe Ryland’s house was referred to us [NHSSF] by the Liberty Trust Fund and the two additional homeowners, Bernice Hendrix and Tammy Carey, were approached outright by myself — all three were more than happy to be selected to participate,” said LaTonda James, NHSSF community builder manager.

An application process was done to ensure that the additional participants were eligible for the project.  

The plant donations were given by Miami-Dade College Kendall Campus. More than 20 ninth grade students from Greater Miami Adventist Academy donated their time and got their hands dirty for a good cause. The young volunteers with the help of the NHSSF staff swept the sidewalks, picked up trash, trimmed bushes, pulled weeds and laid mulch. Snacks and water was provided to the volunteers throughout the morning.

“I had been wanting to do something different to my yard for a while now so it was perfect timing for them to come and do this,” said Hendrix, a retired educator. “I wanted a change.”

James said the organization prides itself on going into the community and providing hands-on assistance such as this because even with the negative stigmas, they know there are a lot of deserving, hardworking people out there.

“Despite what people see on the news, or what they believe this is a good neighborhood,” James said.

“The entire time we have been out here, everyone passing by has been so nice and they appreciate what we are out here doing; We need more of this.”