Mary Beth Van Horn
By Jessica Steinort

For Mary Beth Van Horn, the pride of her neighborhood is the community garden. The garden is not a work by one particular person, but rather a collaborative effort. Perhaps nothing is more telling than the walkway within the garden, created not with newly purchased wood, but with leftover scrap wood donated by the neighbors themselves. As such, the walkway symbolizes the makeup of the community itself. And many of the plants in the garden are donated by nearby families. “We are not growing a garden, we are growing a community,” she said.

Van Horn is also involved in the Love Your Block program. Along with 11 other colleagues, she earned a large grant for the homeowners of the Eastside to better the neighborhood. Van Horn’s team is endeavoring to fix up the walkway within the garden, as some of the wood has begun to rot.

Other proceeds will go to the annual Easter Egg Hunt, her favorite annual event. Children and families all come out to participate in the yearly tradition. Eggs are filled with candy and scattered in a field for children to seek out. Van Horn loves getting to meet all the kids in the neighborhood as well as their parents. The hunt is an opportunity for homeowners of the Eastside to meet one another and talk with neighbors they may not yet know. Van Horn believes that these meet-and-greets foster understanding within the neighborhood and promote more compassion towards other neighbors. She loves the sense of closeness the event brings to the Eastside.

Mary Beth Van Horn is a single mother with two children, the oldest a senior in high school. Whether it’s involving her children in Holmes Street School Community events, or making costumes for her son’s anime conventions, Van Horn continues to foster the sense of community, togetherness and family that the Eastside is so beloved for.

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