Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
June 02, 2014 06:00 PM

It has been 15 years since Jennifer Lopez released her first album, but she’s never performed a concert in her hometown of the Bronx – until now.

That’s right: Don’t be fooled by the rocks that she’s got.

“I haven’t been this excited about something in a long, long time,” Lopez (a.k.a. Jenny from the Block) tells PEOPLE of preparing to perform a free concert just blocks from where she grew up for her State Farm Neighborhood Sessions concert on Wednesday. “To give a free concert and give back to the community that gave me so much and so much of my identity is not lost on me.”

In addition to the block party-style event at Orchard Beach park, the age-defying superstar, 44, made a surprise appearance at the Community Health Fair hosted at the Montefiore Medical Center on Sunday.

“[My sister] Lynda and I began speaking to Montefiore about eight or nine months ago about what the Bronx needed and what the problems were,” she says of the Lopez Family Foundation’s collaboration with the hospital to launch the Center For A Healthy Childhood. “The best thing about my job is that I am in a position to do something that inspires and brings people together.”

But being able to give back is not the only reason the “First Love” singer gets excited about going home.

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“Something about walking those streets just takes me right back. I think it is because so much of my life was there.

“I love walking down those streets and going for pizza at the Cross Bronx and just walking up and down there between the subway and where my house was on Blackrock Avenue,” says Lopez, who will release her next album, A.K.A., on June 13. “Every time I go back there, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was there.”

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