Reggie Dogan

Reggie Dogan Project Manager

Community

Preparing for GRACE of Pensacola

Summertime is a good time for some local residents who will be the beneficiaries of free home improvements. More than 300 teens and adults from churches around the country are volunteering their time in June to spruce up about 40 homes for the elderly, handicapped and lower-income residents in Pensacola. Repairs and improvements will include, among other things, exterior painting, weatherization, porch and wheelchair ramp construction. The volunteer effort is organized by Group Cares, formerly known as Group Workcamps Foundation, an interdenominational Christian nonprofit group based in Loveland, Colo. In the upcoming summer, an estimated 25,000 youth and adults will participate in 48 work camps in communities across the U.S. and Canada. In Pensacola alone, their efforts will represent about 10,000 hours of volunteer labor with an estimated economic impact to the community of more than $250,000. The work camp is sponsored by GRACE of Pensacola, a group of local churches and nonprofit agencies that have joined for the Group Cares Project and is lead by Christ Church in Pensacola. The mission of GRACE is to serve Pensacola residents by providing home repair to citizens who can’t provide for themselves. Volunteers still are needed to assist in pressure washing the selected home sites during the week before the youth groups arrive. To participate or for more information, call Warren Jerrems at (850) 586-1030. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story

Community

Saving the Jordan Home

A group of concerned citizens wants to turn a house back into a home. The Ella Jordan Home, once a gathering place for a host of community activities in the early 1900s near the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood, has fallen to disrepair as a result of neglect and hurricane damage. The plan is to preserve the legacy and life of Ella Jordan by restoring the house to its elegance and importance in the historic neighborhood. A “Campaign to Save the Historical Ella Jordan Home” will be hosted at 5 p.m. Saturday at Booker T. Washington High School’s Theodore Auditorium, 6000 College Parkway. Keynote speaker is Faya Ora Rose Toure, a Harvard-educated civil rights activist and litigation attorney in Selma, Ala. Toure, formerly named Rose Sanders, was the first African-American female judge in Alabama. She was part of the winning team in a civil rights case that led to a billion dollars in damages awarded to black farmers by the U.S Department of Agriculture, one of the largest civil rights cases in history. Also a songwriter, playwright and education activist, Toure is an ideal person to raise awareness and bring attention to the efforts to save the Ella Jordan Home. Jordan, the first president of Pensacola Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, owned the house until she died in 1948. Federation members bought the house, on the corner of LaRua and C streets, in 1959 and named it after Jordan. It became a gathering spot for social and educational activities for the African-American community in the what’s commonly called today the Westside Garden District. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan nearly destroyed the dilapidated remains of the historic house. Once a neighborhood cornerstone, the house is barely standing and in desperate need of repair and restoration. Windows and doors are boarded. The heavily damaged roof is covered with a blue tarp. Members of the community, along with Mother Wit Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to educating young people and preserving African-American history, have joined together to save revitalize the landmark. Georgia Blackmon, founding member of Mother Wit Institute, said it would be a shame to lose this significant piece of Pensacola history. Blackmon said activities at the Jordan Home focused on important issues such as health and wellness, economics, education and tutoring. “It’s worth saving because of what she did in the 1900s through providing and teaching life skills,” Blackmon said. “We need to keep her legacy alive for the next generation and even the unborn.” For more info, call 438-4882. This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise. Read full story

Commentary

Lessons from Greenville

Pensacola’s downtown renewal is showing momentum. Upscale eateries, bars and shops are moving in once-vacant buildings. Foot traffic is up and parking spaces are filled. Read full story