PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Through a new yard contest, the community is coming together to highlight the beauty of Peoria’s East Bluff.

With constant negative news in the community, a new initiative is working to change that.

“It’s like therapy, it gets his mind off things. The more he works on it, the more beautiful it comes,” said Yard of the month winner, Terri Moreland. She said her husband, Rick Moreland, suffers from PTSD.

The Moreland family lives in Peoria’s East Bluff, and they just recently won yard of the month. It’s a new initiative through the East Bluff Community Center to help change the narrative on the east side.

“A lot of people who aren’t, who don’t spend enough time in the East Bluff might have a negative image because of the things that they hear, but we want people to know that the majority of people in the neighborhood are really working on building it up and want to see a vibrant wonderful place,” said Executive Director, Kari Jones at the East Bluff Community Center.

On Tuesday, bullets rang out in an alleyway between Wisconsin and Delaware Avenues just after 5 p.m.

The Morelands said while violence does sweep through the neighborhood, it’s not what defines them or the community.

“We don’t see the violence here, no we don’t, we really don’t… we know it’s here, I mean it can happen anywhere to anybody and at any time,” said Moreland.

The couple said initiatives like these bring the community together and push one another to love the place they call home.

“The lady that nominated said her backyard by the alley was kind of nasty, so she put up sunflowers and now her neighbor across the road is putting up sunflowers,” said Moreland.

Also, it’s not just lawn care in the summer, but decorations for the holidays too.

“When we first moved in, we were the only ones who handed out candy and decorated and now at Christmas and Halloween, we have the whole block in on it,” said Moreland.

It’s a trickle-down effect the community center is hoping to achieve.

“It really does spill out to the neighbors on either side and hopefully keeps going,” said

In more efforts to uplift the community, Run the Bluff 5k will take place on October 8.

Nominations have closed for the yard of the month in September. Jones said they plan on having a ‘best decorations contest’ for the holidays.