Erie Gives Day starts in less than 24 hours and there are more than 400 local nonprofits to support.
WJET got an inside look at how these organizations are working to uplift our community.
Several large-scale projects are coming to Erie’s east side, but one nonprofit is working to create climate-safe neighborhoods by getting young people involved in the process.
It’s a group called Groundwork Erie and students are learning about climate change while also cleaning up vacant properties across the city.
“They’re just really teaching me a lot about their lives and we’re working together to make things better. We collect litter every day and sort it out, and we learn a lot about how our society consumes and what we consume,” said Dr. Aaron Kerr, executive director of Groundwork Erie.
One student said Groundwork Erie sends a positive message to those who see their work.
“You’re walking down the street, there’s garbage everywhere and there’s a trash can just down the road. People will see that and they’re like, “Oh man, I can do that as well,'” said Brogan Carroll, CareerLink.
This is the first time Groundwork Erie has participated in Erie Gives Day. The group partners with several organizations including the National Park Service.
The plan is to create a greenway trail that connects vacant properties from East 6th to East 12th streets over to the Bayfront Connector.
“It would be sort of a serpentine with pocket parks, rain gardens and possible art displays and so forth, but we need to engage the residents to see what their needs are,” Dr. Kerr added.
The Inner-city Neighborhood Art House is another nonprofit that teaches students the meaning of community. They offer programs during the summer and after school.
“We’re probably the most comprehensive art program in the area. So they can receive everything from visual arts, performing arts, literary arts and environmental education all here at the Art House,” said Kelly Stolar, executive director of the Neighborhood Art House.
Stolar added that their programs are growing.
“We have more students coming in, which means more materials and supplies are needed, and that is how funding through programs such as Erie Gives really benefits our program so that we can give back and continue to be here for the community for years to come,” Stolar said.