Last month, StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to downtown Chicago, Illinois, to record the stories of chief service officers from city administrations across the nation. CSOs described the impact that different community development initiatives have had on their cities as part of Cities of Service, a coalition of mayors from metropolitan areas that represent nearly 20 million Americans in the United States.
Kia Bickham, the CSO for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spoke about the Love Your Block Initiative, a program that distributes small grants to citizen committees for the greening and beautification of city blocks, work that is mainly carried out by community volunteers. Kia explained how the implementation of that initiative has changed the urban environments of many historically black Baton Rouge neighborhoods that have been affected by decades of urban decay. (more…)