Cambria Rollo and her family of four moved to Wheat Ridge from Salt Lake City in June 2020. Right in the middle of a pandemic, the Rollo family had moved to a new state and a new city. In May of 2021 they had been living in their new home for nearly a year, but they still hadn’t really had a chance to meet their neighbors or get to know their new community. Being community minded and wanting to help, Cambria looked for volunteer opportunities through the City of Wheat Ridge’s website. This is where she discovered Localworks’ website and learned more about the programs and events through the local Wheat Ridge nonprofit.
The TLC Wheat Ridge program caught Cambria’s eye. This collaboration between Localworks and the City of Wheat Ridge offers block party grants and dumpster grants to Wheat Ridge residents. She thought that this might be the perfect way to meet some new people and get connected to the other residents on her street. Cambria went to work filling out applications for the grant funding, getting connected to Localworks, and inviting her neighbors to the weekend-long event. Cambria printed fliers and distributed them to neighbors, which gave her a great opportunity to knock on doors and introduce herself and her family. The information on the fliers let her neighbors know that there would be a dumpster available for a full weekend and they were invited to end the weekend with a Sunday evening block party. Cambria even offered her family’s help to anyone who might need an extra hand disposing of large items in the dumpster.
Nearly every neighbor that was invited to use the dumpster and attend the block party was able to participate. Items like old carpet, old furniture and tree trimmings were all thrown out in the dumpster. The timing was perfect, as many residents were in the middle of spring cleaning and home renovations. Localworks coordinated all of the dumpster arrangements and costs, which made it very convenient and easy. The residents helped each other haul large items and helped elderly neighbors with their items as well.
Almost 30 people made it to the block party that Sunday. A $150 grant from Localworks was used to buy the basics, like plates, hamburgers, hot dogs and buns. Neighbors all brought side dishes and desserts to share. Ages varied vastly, from 1 to 91. The opportunity to connect multiple generations of neighbors was a delight to the attendees. Long-time residents sharing recipes and stories with the new, young families in the neighborhood was a treat. The party was supposed to end at 7 p.m., but neighbors stuck around to enjoy each other’s company much later into the evening. “Some of the neighbors already asked if we could do it again next month,” laughed Cambria.
The TLC Wheat Ridge program through Localworks focuses on traffic safety, life quality and crime reduction (TLC). Through neighborhood events like this one that the Rollo family coordinated, the Wheat Ridge program helps to connect neighbors, clean up properties and increase safety. Cambria felt that the weekend was the perfect way to wrap up quarantine and she hopes this will kickstart an annual tradition in their neighborhood in east Wheat Ridge. Most of all, she is happy to be connected to so many neighbors and now knows who may need some occasional help.
“It is nice learning what neighbors may need an extra hand because we are happy to lend a helping hand. Now that we’ve all connected, we can all help each other,” said Cambria. “I’m hoping others can take advantage of this program. It just takes one person on the block to be like ‘let’s do this’ and everyone else gets on board.”
Interested in learning more about the TLC Wheat Ridge block party or dumpster grants, Clean Up Days events, or other community cleanup volunteer opportunities? Please visit WeAreLocalworks.org. Localworks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community.