“I just really want to get a lot of people out and energized and activated,” says Will Green, founder of Mentoring Positives on Madison’s east side of town. “We have an opportunity to do things right here in Darbo. I’m optimistic about having our residents active in what is going on in their community.”

Worthington Park will be home to all kinds of activities on Thursday, Aug. 22, 3-8 p.m., as Mentoring Positives hosts the annual Darbo Fest & Peace Walk. There will be food, music, basketball, soccer, pizza and community building. The event is free and open to the public.

Off the Block products made by kids in the Darbo community – including pizza and salsa – will be sold at the event. Make sure you come early: From 3-4 p.m. slices of pizza will be only $1.

“We’re going to cooking the pizzas. Get there early and it’s only a dollar,” Green tells Madison365. “From 4-6 p.m., we will have a deejay out there. There will be some tents right off the Salvation Army building. Pizza will be $2.”

Young people from Mentoring Positives will be using Christine’s Kitchen behind McDonald’s to make the pizzas. “The kids will be cooking and delivering the pizza throughout the day,” Green says.

Off the Block frozen pizzas will also be available for sale.

Off The Block Pizza

Green, along with wife Becky Green, founded Mentoring Positives back in 2004, an innovative, referral-based mentoring program that works directly with kids and families in a variety of ways throughout Dane County and its surrounding areas.  A big initiative for Mentoring Positives has been the Off the Block salsa along with the Off the Block pizza, which debuted at the Darbo Peace Walk two years ago.

“The kids have done a great job this summer. They’ve really showed up and they were exposed to a lot of different things – the salsa, the pizza and just being true leaders,” Green says. “Yesterday, we knocked on doors to get to know people throughout the neighborhood. I think that’s going to be our best remedy for a neighborhood like Darbo. I’m just trying to lead that charge and activate people. It’s a call to action.”

On Thursday, from 6:30-7 p.m., the annual Peace Walk – a walk through Darbo-Worthington – will take place. Lisa Peyton Caire, founder and president of the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, will deliver a message and lead the Peace Walk.

“For me, it’s all about the bigger picture of Darbo and Madison. I truly believe that we have to get neighbors out and we have to get people in the neighborhood to voice their opinions of things and what they want for their neighborhood,” Green says. “This is like a call to action for Darbo for people to come out and enjoy the Peace Walk.

Will Green

“Lisa [Peyton-Caire] and some of the ambassadors for the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness will lead the walk and I’m hoping she will say a few words about health and wellness and what it takes to be a community,” Green adds.

The Darbo-Worthington neighborhood sits about three miles east of the state Capitol building on East Washington Ave. Green says that he’s well aware of the revitalization and construction that is making its way down the east side of Madison and heading straight towards Darbo.

Lisa Peyton Caire

“We are already thinking about the issues that will be coming our way,” he says. “We’re thinking about affordable housing and all of those things that are happening to Madison as it moves to urbanization. We’re going to be developed – so let’s be at the forefront of that and not the back end.

“So, I’m hoping to inspire people to come out and to voice what they want,” he adds.

Green adds that his hope is that people leave the Darbo Fest & Peace Walk happy and energized.

“It’s a three-mile walk from Darbo to Bridges Golf Course. At the end of that walk, I want to get a great picture of everybody in Darbo involved in this walk,” he says. “I hope it captures the essence of people coming together from all walks of life enjoying cultures, enjoying people in this space on Madison’s east side. I’m looking for it to be a great vibe at the event.

“Darbo can stand up and be a neighborhood that has a lot of pride. Hopefully, that will be on display at Darbo Fest & Peace Walk on Thursday,” Green adds. “It’s kind of that transition time where summer is coming to an end and kids are going back to school. We’re getting in this mode and I think the event will help. It’s going to be a good time.”

Darbo Fest & Peace Walk will take place Thursday, Aug. 22, 3-8 p.m. at Worthington Park, 3102 Worthington Ave. in Madison.