ReClaim South Ambassador Project: A Beloved Community

Program Area: Ambassador Project, ReClaim

Topic: Community Engagement, Community Gardens, Youth

Year: 2014

Neighborhood: Knoxville

Parent Project:

Read more about Cheryl


About the Project

When Ambassador Cheryl Ruffin is not wearing her ReClaim hat, she is the pastor of Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Knoxville. Adjacent to her church is a small, underutilized community garden in a lot next to the parking lot. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pastor Cheryl wants to recreate this garden to be integrated into her idea of the Hilltop as a “Beloved Community”, a concept coined by the Reverend King.

In addition to the raised garden beds – benches, walkways, plants and birdhouses will be placed around the space. It will be a place of cooperation, reconciliation and tranquility for her congregation and the surrounding neighborhood, regardless of which one subscribes to.

“I want to see something that is pretty. Something that gives people hope. Something that people can look at and understand that they mean something to this city. That’s why I’m involved in this.”

— Cheryl Ruffin, ReClaim South Ambassador, Knoxville

400 Orchard Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15210, USA


Cheryl's design for her project
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Cheryl with Little Free Library
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The site before reclamation

The site after reclamation

Ambassadors Cheryl and Dave worked together to build a Little Free Library on her site.

Garden bed built by Wilderness Lumber Company

Ambassador Cheryl watering the vegetables

Voices Against Violence participants volunteering at the site