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Generations of Service in Pittsburgh

Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012.

In August, StoryCorps Door-to-Door travelled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to record more stories of Cities Of Service members. On this trip, we heard the voices of the volunteers, non-profit staff, and community officials who work together on the Love Your Block Initiative, a program that funds garden renewals and community beautification projects. From volunteers to full-time non-profit staff, Pittsburghers work together not only to improve their city but also to inspire future generations to maintain Pittsburgh’s beauty. Stories were shared between co-workers, friends and even family members who work with one another.

Ashton Armstrong spoke with her mother, Lisa Coeffe, about their love for Pittsburgh and dedication to making Pittsburgh a “beautiful place to live and play.” Ashton has recently become the coordinator of the Love Your Block Initiative in Pittsburgh, following in the footsteps of her mother Lisa, a city forester. Together, Ashton and Lisa work to improve green spaces and increase the number of trees throughout the city. They spoke about their hard work paying off when a community finishes a project and the joy they feel when they see a garden or park come to life. For Ashton and Lisa, community service is not just a job, it is a form of expression.

Love Your Block participants Ashton Armstrong (l) Lisa Coeffe (r)

The high volunteer turnout and the sense of empowerment shared between community members continues to inspire Ashton and Lisa in their work. According to Lisa, change “is not going to happen around you by itself.” First, you must “make your street the best it could be, which then reaches out to other places.”

“Service is contagious.” That’s Ashton’s philosophy. She hopes her and her mother’s work will inspire many generations of Pittsburghers to serve their community with the same passion and perseverance.

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