Earlier this year, Al Sengstock launched Good Works Partnerships. The organization is sprucing up the Pensacola area, one property at a time.
“It makes you feel better,” Sengstock said back in January, as he stood admiring a Saturday morning’s worth of work.
On that early job, volunteers from Marcus Pointe and Greater Little Rock Baptist churches gathered together to clean an elderly women’s property. They cleared brush, cut grass and fixed broken windows.
“I bet you come back here in two weeks and you’ll find the neighbors sweeping their sidewalks,” Sengstock said. “You have to start somewhere.”
That’s the idea. With the Good Works Partnership, Sengstock is hoping to empower, inspire and help the community clean itself up.
Good Works Partnership is a non-profit organization that provides people with the tools needed to tend to their properties. Hammers, lawnmowers, rakes and pretty much anything else are lent out to people looking to clean up lawns and fix up houses.
The organization also coordinates volunteer work crews. The crews target individual properties for cleaning.
Sengstock got the idea for Good Works during his years as a code enforcement manager. He saw the impact that financial penalties could have on a person, a person who wanted to address their property but was unable to do so.
“It would be heartbreaking and frustrating when confronted by the dilemma of working with people who, due to physical or financial limitations, could not comply with the various property maintenance codes,” Sengstock explained. “I also concluded that much of the conflict and unintended ‘bad will’ was actually born of the frustration by those who couldn’t comply, even though they wanted to.”
After trying out the Good Works model, Sengstock was encouraged by the results.
“By making tools and supplies available to the able-bodied, and by organizing volunteers to assist the physically challenged, much of the conflict was eliminated,” he said.
While visiting his cousin in Pensacola, Sengstock relayed the success he had experienced in Arizona. His cousin—Quint Studer—thought such a program would be beneficial to the Pensacola area. A few months later, Good Works Partnership was born.
Since he began, Sengstock’s organization has been warmly received in the area. Code enforcement officers, from both Pensacola and Escambia County, have embraced the concept and direct their citizens to it. Organizations such as the Pensacola Young Professionals, Pathway for Change, Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities have also developed relationships with Good Works.
The non-profit is growing just as Sengstock had hoped. The effort is helping to beautify the area, giving residents pride in their properties, contributing to neighborhood safety and promoting a sense of community.
“It is a real joy to see the change in those who, through such programs, were once again able to be positive, empowered members of their neighborhoods,” Sengstock said.