She couldn't get to know any of her neighbors because everybody was afraid and stayed inside.
"People was selling drugs in front of your door and you didn't want them to, so you really didn't want to come outside at that time," says Emma, who is the block captain.
Emma and several others decided to confront the drug dealers.
"I told them they should have some respect. First, they don't live on this block," Emma says, "Give us some respect!"
Emma started introducing herself to other neighbors. She was elected block captain and began organizing clean-ups and parties. Then she entered Darien Street in the Philadelphia More Beautiful Clean Block Contest.
"It's seven of us: the Magnificent Seven. We try to pull the block together. We get out and get things done!" says Sharon King, the block treasurer.
And they did, young and old: repaired, painted, and decorated the abandoned houses, cleaned up the streets and steps. They had three weeks to beautify their block.
Sylvia Gallen, a judge for the contest, says that it is a welcome site to see the hard work they have done.
Judges will inspect 30 city blocks that entered the contest over the next six days and a winner will be announced on November 4th.