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Monday started bright and early for us here at St. Louis! We began at 9am with a presentation from Mission St. Louis about their organization and the opportunities they provide for their community as well as volunteers to participate in. We then headed to our first site at Clarence Community Garden. Upon arrival, our site manager, Teresita took  North Newstead Association and we met Pamela and Constance. Constance told us about all the amazing work the North Newstead Association does in St. Louis.

“Its mission is to bring community partners together to promote economic well being in the North Newstead Association geographic area by providing affordable housing and family support services to the areas low and moderate-income residents.

To date, North Newstead Association has constructed, rehabilitated, or in the process of rehabilitating nearly 190 affordable housing units. We have attracted several new businesses and improved the façade of over fifty businesses already in the area.”

They also talked to us about a program this week where St. Louis police and community members will meet to discuss effective community policing too increase police legitimacy. Police legitimacy is the degree to which citizens believe the police are honest, trying to do their job, and protecting the citizens from crime and violence. Community members will discuss with St. Louis police what is and isn’t working to keep their neighborhoods safe, what they expect from police departments, and how communities can organize to prevent violence. Maybe our group will go?

North Newstead is doing some AMAZING work! Check out their website!

After our visit to North Newstead Association, we went back to Clarence Community Garden where we spent the morning preparing flower beds by removing weeds, rocks, and other debris. After finishing up the beds we had a delicious lunch at Popeyes. Up next on the schedule was to pick up as much garbage as we could in the alleys.

We spent the evening enjoying dinner and debriefing the day’s events as a group. After dinner we decided to head downtown and check out the iconic St. Louis Arch and the Mississippi River. We attempted to locate ice cream while wandering downtown and were unsuccessful. Overall, it was a wonderful first day and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s work!

~ From Natalie