About The Program

Square Up Marion is a high-impact service strategy in which community members engage in revitalizing their neighborhoods, one block at a time. Typically, the Square Up Marion board helps to identify areas where the group can support volunteer-fueled solutions, developed by the community. Whether turning vacant lots into community gardens, removing graffiti, or cleaning up the landscape around the sidewalks and streets, citizen volunteers are making their neighborhoods — and their cities — better places to live.

The impact

The impact of Square Up Marion extends beyond the removal of litter or newly cleaned spaces.  It also improves the quality of life for residents. Engaged com-munities are far less likely to let their neighborhoods fall into blighted condi-tions and can act as a powerful force in preventing crime and other negative behaviors. Square Up Marion projects also empower participants and instill community ownership of public spaces. This further motivates citizens to pursue new neighborhood revitalization projects, even after the Square Up Marion project has ended.

How It Works:

For Square Up to be successful, the initiative must be led by the community. The program is most effective when it includes the following steps:

1. Identify a pressing issue the group hopes to address with the energy and commitment of resident volunteers.
2. Engage local residents and other community stakeholders, including city agencies, to discuss the problem and identify possible solutions.
3. Design the initiative with input from the community.
4. Coordinate available services that can complement the neighborhood projects.
5. Activate volunteers and community groups.
6. Work with neighborhood groups to track and report impact metrics for each project, learning from challenges and making mid-course program corrections when necessary.
7. Share and celebrate successes with local residents and other community stakeholders.
8. Take steps to make the initiative sustainable.

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