Putting "the neighbor back in the hood," group lauches billboard aimed at improving life in the inner city

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It towers above a busy intersection in Milwaukee's central city -- a billboard selling not a product, but an idea.

Through prayer and praise, a group called "Heal the Hood" is working to make their vision visible.

"That billboard speaks volumes. That speaks volumes. That`s historical. That`s monumental right there," a group member said.

The billboard is located near Keefe Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee -- an intersection thousands pass through every day.

"We believe that we got to be the ones that come out in the street and start spreading the message," a group member said.

The "Heal the Hood" group's movement began in the summer of 2014 via an effort called "We Got This." 100 teenage boys were hired to tend to a community garden. In December 2014, the group outfitted each boy in a tuxedo, hoping to give them the confidence to grow strong. The group's efforts continued Monday, March 23rd, with the unveiling of the billboard.

"This is symbolic of a community screaming out 'We Got This!'" a group member said.

The "We Got This" movement is a grassroots effort to wipe away the negative stereotypes and inspire positive growth in Milwaukee's inner city.

"It`s just such a powerful imagery to look at that billboard and to know that we can take these young brothers from a-to-z with knowledge, love, righteousness and healing," a group member said.

"A lot of those boys were the ones who were told they weren`t good enough. A lot of those boys didn`t make the grade. Many of them have changed the grade so I think the billboard is a start. I think seeing yourself in the sky like that is going to make a difference and bring in a lot of pride," a group member said.

"We have to put the neighbor back in the hood," a group member said.

The billboard was paid for by Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and the law firm PKSD.

This group has planned another event on Earth Day, April 22nd. Hundreds of volunteers plan to clean up several central city neighborhoods.