Volunteers from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), Kaiser Permanente and residents of Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts gathered early Saturday morning on October 14, 2017 for a special cause—to beautify the Imperial Courts and Nickerson Gardens Housing Developments.
Imperial Courts and Nickerson Gardens public housings are located in Watts, CA and provide over 1,500 units of affordable housing to 4,680 individuals.
“Nearly 40% of our residents are between the ages of 0-18 and that’s why projects such as this one to help beautify our communities take on a deeper meaning,” said Doug Guthrie, HACLA President and CEO. “As HACLA strives to provide safe and affordable housing for our families, this effort will help instill pride and a sense of community to the residents of these housing developments.”
Maxwell Henderson, a resident of Nickerson Gardens for 53 years, talked about all the positive changes at Nickerson Gardens. He explained how these type of volunteer events not only bring in others to the community but also open the eyes of the residents to such events. He stated, “It’s great to see everyone come together to volunteer and make the community a better place!”
Cynthia Mendenhall, resident of Imperial Courts, expressed her hopes for the new community garden. “We want to make Imperial Courts a healthy community—a place where residents can grow and pick their own vegetables. And they’ll be affordable as well!”
Renovation works at the Imperial Courts and Nickerson Gardens Housing Developments is funded by Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Services (NFS) department, who selected Watts as the 2017 site for their annual Community Volunteer Day.
“Community service is in our DNA at Kaiser Permanente and I’m inspired by the time our employees and physicians are donating to spruce up Imperial Courts and Nickerson Gardens,” said Jim Branchick, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center. “With the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center, we’ve been part of the community for 50 years and this volunteer event is an extension of that commitment.”
Within 7 hours, what once was an area with weeds is now filled with green planters where residents can grow their own fruit and vegetables and an open space for the kids to play outdoors.
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