The Douglass Elementary School street mural takes shape in Walnut Hills. Photos provided

The Douglass Elementary School street mural takes shape in Walnut Hills. Photos provided

By Caitlyn Camacho

H&R Block

As more of our work and social lives transition to digital spaces, the physical places in communities that host our social interactions can easily be overlooked. However, these community spaces can have an array of positive social outcomes including making us feel less alone.

That’s why H&R Block and Nextdoor selected 10 projects from more than 2,000 nominations from all 50 states to revitalize neighborhood spaces and spark connections. An American Enterprise Institute study found that Americans who live in communities with neighborhood spaces are consistently more likely to socialize with their neighbors and are twice as likely as those without access to talk to their neighbors daily.

Cincinnati is home to one of the 10 selected projects. Specifically, work includes improving the street connecting Frederick Douglass Elementary School with a neighboring community garden. H&R Block is partnering with local artist Brandon Hawkins and the nonprofit ArtWorks to design and complete a set of street murals that will bring the neighborhood and students together both to create them and serve as a future walkway for students visiting the garden. The garden typically provides a place for afterschool enrichment and connection for students at nearby schools.       H&R Block believes in the power of connections and are doing everything we can through Make Every Block Better to connect neighbors with neighbors across the U.S. While the pandemic may be keeping us socially distanced at this time, it has also put a spotlight on just how important connections are to everyone’s well-being.

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