Why a young friends group matters posted 08/15/14

By Jon Franko

In this guest blog post, I’m excited to introduce Mary Lou Green of Brightside St. Louis. They’re a St. Louis beautification group and they’re our current partner. Mary Lou is the Executive Director over at Brightside and is going to share some thoughts on why a young friends group is important to Brightside. I hope you enjoy!

Throughout Brightside’s 32-year history we have had volunteers of all ages. Young children drafted by their parents to help clean up the alley or neighborhood garden. High school and college students working with their class, club or school group have pulled weeds, picked up trash and made public spaces look better.


Once they graduate we don’t usually have any contact with them again until they buy a house and get settled into a neighborhood. It’s at this point that people truly recognize the importance of the work they did when they were really young or in school. The importance of how a community looks makes a difference in how people feel about the neighborhood.

When an area is litter-free and beautified with flowers people want to be there – spend time there – it makes people feel safer and more comfortable!

Our goal in establishing a young friends group is to engage young professionals and not lose touch with them during their 20s and 30s. Our message — you don’t have to own a house to care about your community. Getting involved in making our city better is a great way to get to know people. Plus, it’s more than just being social, when an area has committed neighbors, it adds to the long time stability of the community.


What’s better on a beautiful evening than enjoying a drink with friends and neighbors in a green space that you help care for? Or having a neighbor you can call on for help because you know them from working together in the neighborhood? And when it is time to “settle down” and buy a house, what will you be looking for?

A cleaner, greener, stable neighborhood for you and your loved ones. With Brightside you can start now to make that happen.

Start building your young friends board today

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