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Three from Salisbury pick up check, meet Kevin Bacon

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Three Salisbury officials came back from Washington, D.C. recently with a check for $10,000 and one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.
Mayor Paul Woodson and two leaders of the city’s Community Appearance Commission rubbed elbows with the movie star and collected a $10,000 prize for last year’s BlockWork project.
“It was a fantastic day,” said Woodson, who spoke on a White House panel about the value of volunteers in neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Salisbury won a Make A Difference Day Award from USA Weekend for an intensive one-day makeover of two neglected city blocks in October 2010. More than 80 volunteers participated in BlockWork, which improved 13 properties in the Brooklyn-South Square neighborhood.
Meeting Bacon, who delivered the keynote address, was the highlight of the trip for Barbara Perry and herself, joked City Planner Lynn Raker at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Raker and Perry, chairwoman of the Community Appearance Commission, came up with the idea for BlockWork. The commission soon will begin taking applications from neighborhoods for this fall’s project.
The trio received “VIP treatment,” Raker said. They were greeted by Hilda Solis, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, and met other officials and dignitaries.
Salisbury now appears on the blog for the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, including a description of BlockWork’s impact on the community and the importance of volunteerism and diversity in the city.
A photo showing two BlockWork volunteers building a fence appears on the blog. Go to www.whitehouse.gov/blog/ 2012/04/20/volunteers-rescue to view the entry.
Raker said the city will update the blog regularly, giving Salisbury national exposure.
Bacon said he was initially “horrified” by the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, a trivia game where any Hollywood actor can be linked to another based on their associations with Bacon, according to USA Today.
But Bacon used the notoriety to his benefit and named his charitable foundation SixDegrees.org.
“With the six degrees idea, if you take me out — which is really what you should do — it’s a beautiful concept because the truth is that we are all connected,” he said, according to USA Today.
Woodson said he was inspired by two children who won Make A Difference Day Awards. A 7-year-old raised $2,700 for homeless animals, and a 15-year-old raised close to $500,000 to buy books for her school library.
Salisbury’s $10,000 prize will fund the 2012 BlockWork.
Neighborhoods interested in applying for BlockWork should send a representative to the Neighborhood Leaders Alliance meeting at 4 p.m. today in the Salisbury-Rowan Water Utility building at One Water Street. The city will help neighborhoods with the application process.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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