Group creates green space for all to remember lost loved ones in Slavic Village, distribute face masks


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — A vacant lot in Slavic Village has been transformed into a green space for contemplation and to honor lost loved ones.

The Garden of Life, located at East 57th Street and Fullerton Avenue, was created by a group called the Community Yahoos, who are dedicated to spreading positivity through events and projects for the community in the Slavic Village area.

Member Odetta Fields said the garden project originated as an idea to distribute masks to the community when the coronavirus hit.

“We saw other places giving masks out, and we decided to step up a little bit and make it a little different in Slavic Village and give them away in memory of those lost to COVID-19,” she said.

There are handmade masks hanging from the garden’s fence, and people who need them are invited to help themselves.

“This is a hard hit area,” she said. “44105 is a very hard hit area. The information isn’t out in this area for people, and we wanted to get the information out there. We just feel like there’s not enough education in this area on COVID.”

The group was awarded a $2,000 grant to create the green space that includes picnic tables and planters, where visitors can place wooden crosses in memory of a lost loved one.

“We decided not just to do it for COVID-19, but we decided to create a green space and a garden to remember loved ones lost to anything, whether COVID-19 or to violence or drugs or any illness,” said Fields.

The group had a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, and they ended up giving away 500 masks.

The group holds lots of events in the community as well, like Trick or Treat on Feet, Breakfast with Santa and a July 4 bike parade.

For more on Community Yahoos, click here.

The year 2020 is going to be remembered as a year of drastic change, from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to rallies and sometimes rioting in the streets protesting racial injustice. With that in mind, we here at Fox 8 News are striving to find uplifting stories of togetherness as part of our Voices of Unity project.

If you know of people or organizations working together to make our world a better place in which to live, send your ideas to Please use the subject line “Voices of Unity.”


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