hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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August 1, 2013

Being kind to their part of the urban jungle

Urban Kindness group unites families to improve neighborhood

Urban Kindness indeed.

That’s the name chosen by residents for their neighborhood group in the urban jungle of the Mount Washington area.

It’s an area often plagued by blight, but Urban Kindness is working to reverse that image — beautifying and keeping their neighborhood clean.

Led by Washington Street resident Keith Boucher, the group is an offshoot of The Vine, a new faith community that started in Haverhill in October 2010.

The group’s first project was to plant flowers in front of Fantini Bakery. But they want their efforts to be sustained over the long haul by getting other neighbors involved. Eventually they would like to form other branches of Urban Kindness so their “vine” can take root and grow across the city.

Benjamin Yosua-Davis, co-pastor of The Vine, said Urban Kindness is the Vine’s newest program for making the Mount Washington neighborhood a better place to live. He said the Urban Kindness group got its name from Boucher and his wife, Diane. Boucher is out of town on a trip and was unavailable to comment for this story.

“As a pastor, it’s my job to point people in the right direction then get out of their way,” Yosua-Davis said. “In this case, Keith was tremendous in opening his home and his property, and for his passion in organizing this to make a part of our city a better place. It really shows how a citizen can be engaged with their city without having to spend a lot of money. It just takes the desire and passion to do it.”

Yosua-Davis said a lot of what he and his wife, Melissa Yosua-Davis, do as co-pastors of The Vine is empowering ordinary everyday people to bless the lives of those around them and that the Urban Kindness program is one way of doing that.

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