Westwood Residents Taking Charge of Blight

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(Memphis) Some people in Southwest Memphis are taking matters into their own hands to make their neighborhood a better and safer place to live.

Robert Gurley with the Westwood Neighborhood Association and Americorps are cleaning up yards in Southwest Memphis so they're within city code and a safer place to live.

They removed more than 3,000 pounds of debris from a yard in one day alone.

“We look at people who have worked hard their whole lives and they`ve gotten older and a lot of things they just can`t keep up anymore and this is a way to give back,” said Gurley.

Volunteer groups like this can be a lifesaver for senior citizens in Memphis because many are on fixed incomes and don`t have the physical ability to get out and clean their blight.

Gurley wishes Memphis had a program like Americorps to teach young people the value of hard work and helping your neighbor.

Gurley had to explain volunteering to some Memphis teens the other day, “The said look, are you all in jail? And see that's the mentality we have. They didn't know. I guess they thought to work, you have to be incarcerated."

Gurley is targeting fifty homes of seniors, veterans and the handicapped in Southwest Memphis this year.

“Not only are we helping someone who can't do the type of work we are doing, but we're also helping with the beatification of the community,” said Ana Rea with Americorps.

Dorothy Hardin doesn't know what she would do without their help, “We have to buy our medicine, pay our telephone bill and all of that and you by the time we get done we don`t have much left then."