Globeville gets community makeover for Denver Days, nearly 200 volunteers on hand

Denver Days and Volunteer Appreciation
July 29, 2016
7.30.16 ECM Work Day – Globeville Neighborhood
August 4, 2016

Globeville gets community makeover for Denver Days, nearly 200 volunteers on hand

By    ELLIS ARNOLD | earnold@denverpost.com PUBLISHED: July 30, 2016 at 3:30 pm | UPDATED: July 30, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Article by the Denver Post:

150 blue-shirted volunteers came to the Globeville area Saturday morning to execute a community makeover as part of the annual Denver Days neighborhood events.

A historic neighborhood full of decades-old, one-story homes and sometimes cluttered yards, Globeville is one of eight neighborhoods that Denver non-profit Extreme Community Makeover works on regularly.

Saturday, Maria Ramirez’s home got the volunteer teams’ treatment, one of 33 houses worked on in the neighborhood during the morning and afternoon. Teams fixed fences, removed graffiti and cleared debris.

“This doesn’t happen every day,” said Ramirez, 71. “I’m very thankful.”

Ramirez, who has lived in her house on Grant Street for 48 years, needed branches cleared in her front yard and her backyard cleaned badly. She seldom goes into the yard, tethered by an oxygen machine in the house.

The neighborhood is no stranger to cleanup efforts — across the street, a Habitat for Humanity sign sits in a yard where that group did repairs. Ramirez’s neighbors help each other do yard work, and some have lived on the block for decades.

Ten volunteers stood in her backyard at noon after cutting down a bush and clearing out sand and dirt — shovels, brooms and other tools leaned against the house and trees. They loaded a pile of branches into a trailer on the back of a pickup truck before the lunch break.

For Angel Asuncion-Reid, helping out was about the “Jesuit philosophy of service.”

“We’ve got people all the way from Boston College, Georgetown — Belize is here too,” said Asuncion-Reid, one of the 150 volunteers from the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference at Regis University, where the conference members were staying.

“Peace by piece” — printed on their shirts — was the motto of the conference’s day of volunteering.

That group was joined by volunteers from Jacobs Engineering, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company and more than a dozen individuals.

“ECM started in 2008,” said Angela Bomgaars, executive director. “Companies, churches, businesses and individuals volunteer for us.”

The group “adopts” one block at a time, Bomgaars said, going door-to-door in the days before a work day to offer residents help.

“We do every other Saturday, and every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July as well,” Bomgaars said. “Just in June and July alone, we’ll have exceeded 2,000 volunteers.”

ECM’s goal, she said, is to have a domino effect on the communities volunteers work in.

As with several houses in the area, an “ECM” lawn sign stood next to Ramirez’s chain-link fence, her standalone mailbox and the wooden ramp up to the door. The crew still planned to clean the gutters after lunch time.

“Hopefully it encourages them to know their neighbors,” Bomgaars said. “It gets people out of their homes, and builds stronger communities.”

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