MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - This week's This is Home segment focuses on a pair of Marietta residents, who are stepping up to improve their neighborhood.
What makes a home? People. And it is in that spirit that two unlikely friends are working to make the west side of Marietta a better place.
Jackson Patterson, a lifelong Harmar resident, and current councilman Geoff Schenkel, started up an off shoot of Marietta Main Street called Main Street West. Their mission is to clean up and improve the quality of life on the west side of the river for all its residents.
Patterson has a troubled past but he decided to turn his life around and give back.
"In that whole change, I decided to reach out to children that are struggling just as I was when I was their age," he said.
Schenkel, the council member for the fourth ward which includes Harmar Village, stepped up to help Patterson coach basketball at Harmar Elementary. And he says he was amazed at Patterson's dedication to the kids and willingness to help the neighborhood.
"Jackson proved to us that good things come from surprising places," Schenkel said, "and the more we can be open to those things the better off we’re all be."
Now both men admit they’re not the a match made in heaven.
"We come from two different worlds in life, two different walks of life," Patterson added, "and I think that is the actual remedy to making it great."
Both love their neighborhood and decided to create Main Street West to help improve Harmar Village.
"We need to build relationships outside of our neighborhood," Schenkel said, "with Marietta Main Street, with the police, with the sheriff, with the fire department, with the mayor’s office. Let’s get to know these people."
They say one of their biggest accomplishments so far is the MOV Rebound for Kids program at Flanders Field.
"We actually had our local law enforcement come over and play basketball with our students and just the community all together," Patterson noted, "which in turn made it even better impact because we went from needle uses to drug uses in the park to none just by the Marietta police department showing a presence."
The group has also organized successful community cleanups but they want more people to join in this effort.
"A lot of people were like 'jackson thank you for all that you do. We’re impressed by you' and I’m like don’t be impressed, be involved," Patterson said. "That’s the key to it."
"We don’t have a steep hierarchy," Schenkel added. "We have more of an egalitarian spirit and I think that makes a difference."
Both men say the group now has momentum.
"Instead of waiting for somebody to do things for us, we can be a part of the solution," Schenkel said.
"And it’s starting to look like home again, so and that’s all that matters," Patterson said. "Now that people are buying into it, we’re now seeing even more change. So that’s the whole progressive part of Main Street, building relationships within the community to better our home."
Patterson and Schenkel say they're optimistic for the future of their neighborhood and welcome any one to become a part of this postitive change.