If you want to take back your neighborhood, first, you have to appreciate it enough to do it yourself. That's the philosophy of a new group in south Jackson. They targeted Shady Lane Drive Saturday, zeroing in on 2114 Shady Lane Drive.
It's the second of what they plan to be many clean-up missions, not only in south Jackson but throughout the Capital City.
Nadia and Kehinde Gaynor are proud to call south Jackson home, but they are not happy with what they see in their neighborhood.
Nadia Gaynor said, "One day I was driving down the street and I just started looking at all the trash on our streets and I started looking at all of the abandoned homes and it just really made me upset."
It also prompted a call to action for the couple. They came up with the Jackson Appreciation Club.
Kehinde Gaynor said, "We're called the Appreciation Club because we need to learn how to appreciate our neighborhoods. When you look at our neighborhoods, it looks very depreciated."
Those words were put into action for the first time last month when the Gaynors called on friends, businesses and anyone interested, to come help clean up Shady Lane Drive.
Kehinde Gaynor said, "It's almost back to the way it looked when we cleaned it up the first time."
Asked how does he turn that around, Kehinde Gaynor said, "You turn it around by changing the mentality, by bringing awareness to people a decision, you know we don't have to live this way."
One particular property, 2114 Shady Lane Drive, has been an eyesore for awhile now, old furniture and trash dumped in the carport, driveway and lawn; so it was the primary target of Saturday's mission. This is how the house looks now. The Gaynors don't fault city officials, even though they promised to pick up the trash from the clean up on Monday, but didn't. They know there's only so much divisions like community improvement can do. The T-shirt the adults wear says it all.
Nadia Gaynor said, "Damn actually means something and it stand for demand and accountability in my neighborhood, so when I say I give a damn, that means I care about going out and holding people accountable. I care about how my neighborhood looks. I care about crime in my area..."
Gaynor said if the language is too strong for you, there are also T-shirts that simply read, "I care, you should, too." And they hope that message resonates throughout the Capital City.
The Jackson Appreciation Club's number grew from about 8 people last month to at least 20 volunteers on Saturday.
Their next clean up mission is Greenview off of McDowell Road on November 19th beginning at 8 a-am.
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