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Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Neighborhood Champion
Philly

Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Neighborhood Champion

What’s a Neighborhood Champion?

Someone (or a group) who helps further change in his or her own neighborhood.

As we count down the days until SustainPHL happens, we’re excited to find our about the sustainable changes these nominees live and breathe everyday, within blocks of their own homes. They’re inspiring all of us to make small changes in our lives to help a greater cause.

Meet the 2016 Neighborhood Champions!

Neighborhood Champion

  • Germantown Special Services District
  • Claire Laver | Point Breeze
  • Sam Holloschutz | Fairmount
  • Lara Kelly | Northern Liberties

Germantown Special Services District

“GSSD provides services beyond what’s provided by the city and invests in long-term economic development for the district including business assistance, planting trees, graffiti removal, and business attraction. With special focus on litter removal, they hire the homeless through Ready, Willing & Able and Men in Blue.”

Germantown Special Services District

The Germantown Special Services District has a mission to supplemental services beyond those provided by the City and to invest in the long-term economic development of the district.  As a pillar in the Germantown community, GSSD is one of the keys to the re-emergence of Germantown – as a thriving micro-economy – for not only local residents, but, also as a destination, shopping, dining, entertainment and learning center for the city and other visitors.

The biggest impact that the GSSD has had on the Germantown neighborhood has been cleaning of the streets, especially keeping the gutters free from debris which has helped alleviate unwanted and unnecessary flooding of intersections. The GSSD has always taken the lead in planting trees along the corridor to help with retain storm water runoff, lower temperatures during the hot summer months, and to increase clean air within the parts of the corridor that has a high volume of bus traffic.

Claire Laver | Point Breeze

She brought together members of my community  together to start, fund, and implement a community garden that has been a huge transformation for the neighborhood and its sustainability in Point Breeze.”

Claire-Laver

Claire Laver serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Projects for Urban Roots and Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better foundation. She is a graduate of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania and has dedicated her career to empowering communities through redevelopment and educational initiatives. She formerly served as the Executive Director of Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund and oversaw the development of many public skatepark projects including the construction of Paine’s Park, a 2.5-acre, $4.5M multi-use park along Schuylkill Banks. She is also a founding member of the Interfaith Community Building Group of Philadelphia, a non-profit focused on building community through construction projects.

As Claire said, “I strongly believe that neighborhoods prosper when revitalization projects reflect the needs and passions of that community. Through this work, I have seen park renewal projects bring families together, create new connections between neighbors, give youth a safe place to play after school, and provide educational opportunities for folks of all ages. It doesn’t get any better that that.

Sam Holloschutz | Fairmount

“Sam organizes cleanups as head of the FCA’s (Fairmount Civic Association) Neighborhood Improvement Committee. He even signed up for sewer markers and applied around 30-40 markers around the neighborhood to notify people that the sewers drain to our Schuylkill River!”

SAM HOLLOSCHUTZ

Sam Holloschutz sought out an opportunity to be active and help his neighborhood by joining the FCA and found himself taking over the neighborhood improvement committee shortly after joining.

Since then, he has organized 5 neighborhood cleanups, collectively gathering 22.5 tons of trash over the last couple years. He also maintains open communication with FCA members by informing and encouraging them to become block captains and acquire street trash cans to help keep Fairmount clean, one block at a time.

As he walks around our neighborhood, it’s not unusual for him to be thanked by a resident for his efforts or asked where or how to recycle something, how to become a block captain, where to sign up to get more markers for the sewers and help apply them around the neighborhood etc. The acknowledgement and questions are just proof that Sam has gotten a community to recognize that improving a neighborhood goes way beyond one person.

Lara Kelly | Northern Liberties

“Lara led the green stormwater infrastructure project that was a pilot for future work. She has also been an active proponent for recycling and against litter for decades.”

Lara Kelly

Lara Kelly’s careers over the last 30 years have included riding racehorses, running the Art Department on BIG Hollywood feature films, opening her own architectural salvage business and most recently trying to make Northern Liberties, Philadelphia and planet Earth cleaner and greener. Born in Philadelphia (and raised in the suburbs), she’s traveled the planet and ended up right back where she started.

She has spent the past 10 years trying to change how people see and treat the planet’s natural resources and help show others how a simple shift in people’s perception can make a difference in our neighborhoods, our city and our planet.

She lives in Northern Liberties with my wife Marion, their 10-year-old daughter, Harper and our 15-year-old pitbull/dinosaur, Scout.

We congratulate the Neighborhood Champion Award nominees and look forward to celebrating them at the SustainPHL awards on August 18th! Get your tickets online here.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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