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This Saturday: Do Good in Crenshaw and Learn About the Transformative Power of Art for Those Who Have Been Incarcerated in West Adams

12:11 PM PDT on October 5, 2012

When neighborhoods suffer foreclosures, everyone on the block gets hurt. The abandoned buildings can quickly become blight and attract criminal activity. The decline of a block can hurt the self-esteem of a community. It is also hard to bring communities together through block clubs and neighborhood councils when people are struggling to stay afloat and the neighborhood is in constant flux. At the very time neighbors most need to come together to support each other, their own struggles may leave them little time or energy to do.

For this reason, the Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County (NHS) regularly joins forces
with families and volunteers to hold Neighborhood Pride Days in areas hit hard by foreclosures. By encouraging neighbors to participate in beautifying their block, the NHS seeks to help residents find a renewed sense of pride in and commitment to their community. Although NHS' own day-to-day operations focus more on financial literacy and educational services, they believe that Pride Days can leave communities stronger and more able to assist each other in weathering financial hardships.

This weekend's event will take place in South L.A., the area with the largest number of overall foreclosures. Volunteers will help families in Crenshaw with house painting, planting, graffiti clean-up, garbage removal, and minor home repairs. In partnership with in-house construction specialists and local business sponsors, NHS will supply the paint, materials, and meals for volunteers.

The meet-up site for the event is 2628 W. 73rd St. (just south of Florence and east of Crenshaw) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Nyasha Buchongo at nbuchongo@lanhs.org or (213) 381-2862, ext 253 for more information.

After spending your morning do-gooding, head over to the William Grant Still Arts Center for a community arts festival and concert marking the launch of the exhibit, Dragon’s Flight, in historic West Adams. Dragon's Flight is a six-week exhibition running from October 6 through November 24 that celebrates the transformative power of creating art, and its ability to help artists reclaim and rebuild their personal identity in the face of negative trauma. The participating artists are currently or have been incarcerated, or are working in collaboration with incarcerated artists. The work exhibited is drawn from pieces created both inside prison and on the outside. Grassroots organizations will be on hand to educate participants about issues surrounding incarceration and their effects on communities in the area. And, of course, there will be music. The event will be hosted by Bananas' own MC VerBS.

The festivities run from 12 to 6 p.m. The Arts Center is located at 2520 W. View St. (near La Brea and Adams).

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