The Blog
Sarah Wiehe

Public health researcher at IU School of Medicine and pediatrician at Wishard PCC Clinic

How long have you been volunteering with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful? 
I have been volunteering at KIB since I moved back to Indianapolis in 2004.

Why do you choose to volunteer with KIB? 
I choose to volunteer with KIB because I want to increase the tree canopy and public greenspace in Indianapolis. As someone invested in public and children’s health, I am aware of the evidence which supports greenspace in improving health outcomes, reducing crime, and increasing community engagement. I think how KIB involves the community in planting and sustaining these spaces contributes further these positive outcomes. KIB has a wonderful staff who are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do and an absolute pleasure to work with.

What impact do you feel that the work with KIB has on the community? 
I have gotten to know my neighbors because of KIB. I signed up early on as an adopt-a-block coordinator. My neighbors, as explained later by a neighbor and friend, adhere to a ‘stay-in-your-square’ mentality, meaning they stay to themselves and do not get involved in others’ business. When I began walking along the block and picking up trash, I changed that mentality to some extent. My neighbors and I learned each other’s names and interests and, eventually, we became friends. Later, we collaborated on KIB tree plantings, a community garden and a rain garden. I have been thrilled at how these projects have strengthened our block and surrounding area. In short, my neighbors no longer stay in their square. They look out for each other – call when a tree blows down in another’s yard, stop by when they are concerned about someone, and share produce from their gardens with each other. I attribute much of this positive growth to KIB.

What is your favorite memory of volunteering with KIB?
I enjoy working closely with neighbors and friends, now many of whom are KIB staff, on projects which I know will benefit our community. I have many fond memories volunteering with KIB. My favorite memories are likely the two tree plantings in my neighborhood. The results of the first planting are already apparent only a few years afterwards. It is great to see my neighbors watering and caring for the trees. They take pride in their trees and are invested in their survival.

Why would you encourage others to volunteer with KIB? 
I would recommend volunteering with KIB because it is enjoyable, educational, and entirely fulfilling.