Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Baton Rouge gets $50,000 for revitlization and literacy

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BATON ROUGE - Thousands of dollars in grant money will be up for grabs soon for volunteer groups who want to help make Baton Rouge a greener, greater, and safer place to live.

The city of Baton Rouge received $50,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies to award to volunteer groups who want to build community gardens, neighborhood landscaping, and after school literacy programs in the city-parish.

Sylvia Stevens lights up when talking about one new community garden across the street from her home which was built with previously-awarded grants. She said it's beautiful and helps kids learn while keeping them occupied and out of trouble.

"Is it a need? Oh yes, it is a need for that, past, way past a need," she said.

Via Bickham with the City of Baton Rouge says people here want to do good things for their community, but often don't know how to do it. She said community gardens and parks are a perfect example of what volunteers can do when they're given what they need.

"Neighborhood revitalization and literacy were two things that could use service to impact our community," said Bickham.

The Cities of Service Coalition impact volunteering fund gives resources to citizens who need them to make a difference in their communities. The Coalition started two years ago when Baton Rouge Mayor Melvin "Kip" Holden received a grant to find out what areas of the city could use volunteer services.

Volunteers just have to make sure they partner or collaborate with at least one organization.

"We've seen the tremendous impact that it had directly on those communities so we decided to say you know what lets give our citizens a little bit more money to do a little bit more in their community," Bickham continued. "It (is) an amazing thing to see so many young people coming together when it's hot on a Saturday morning when they could be doing so many other things."

An informational meeting is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance for projects on N. 19th St. For more information on the Cities of Service Grants or to get an application visit their website. Applications are due Oct. 11.



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