PhillyRising: Broom and Groom

By: Jim Sanders

While the winter was a time to conserve energy and reduce activity, spring is a time of regeneration, new beginnings, and a renewal of spirit.

PhillyRising and the residents of Lower North Central are capitalizing on the change of season by working collectively to address blight in their community. The PhillyRising Block Captain Social that was held in February presented a time for fellowship in which 18 Block Captains of adjoining blocks participated in a discussion focused on two main concerns: illegal dumping and trash/littering by property owners. Block Captains identified a need for sanitation education as well as a sense of urgency to address the physical conditions of the area.

Inspiration for action came as Block Captain Gail Gamble shared a poem expressing community pride and how community change can be made with just a broom and a good groom. The Block Captains realized that, ultimately, this is their community and felt a need to unite and develop a plan of action to address issues raised. Ms. Gamble’s motivation sparked creativity among the group and they began to create a framework for the development of series of block clean-up days during the spring and summer months. During these designated clean-up days, all participating Block Captains, local community organizations and community residents would partner with PhillyRising and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services to address litter-strewn vacant lots and overall block appearance. As a result from the meeting, Block Captains attached a label to their beautification efforts referring to themselves as members of the “Block Captain Broom and Groom” or B.A.G.

The first project to kick off area revitalization efforts occurred on April 13th during the annual “Philly Spring Clean Up”, where 16 community members along with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services gathered to clean the commercial corridor and adjoining blocks.  Currently, 2,564 lbs of trash have been removed from 24 vacant lots in Lower North Central Philadelphia and B.A.G. is making arrangements to expand cleanup efforts to neighboring blocks. This will enhance the community as a whole as well as provide community cohesion.

“Broom and Groom”

This flyer is written to every neighbor!!

Individually, as we gather collectively

to become a community!!

Wake Up!! Take notice!! Have some Pride!!

Stop being content with letting all this trash Fly!

Surely it is not falling from the sky!

The sanitation Department is doing their job!

So, why must we go on living like slobs?!

When you travel all over the City, It is such a pity!

Some areas are so trifling!

Come On Now! Show some class! 

Let’s start cleaning up all this trash!

It is time to change, our mentality!  Don’t let TRASH be our Reality

Have some pride and start cleaning up on the outside!

So let us bust the move!

Grab a broom and start to groom! Our neighborhood!

And it will be much better, if we all work together!

-By Gail Gamble, Block Captain

Jim Sanders is PhillyRising’s Central Division Coordinator. Contact Dan at Stay tuned for more PhillyRising Updates every Friday. 

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