Sunday, December 30, 2018

Community Connections

Wow! We nailed it!
Well,,, not really, it’s a work in progress :0)

Hard to believe that Belle’s ToolBox has had OPEN hangin on its door, now for over a year!
While putting the project in place took a chunk of time prior to that, it was our serving as a host for
LOLA 2017 that helped us take the plunge – a real pleasure to be part of LongFellow!

The neighborhood Messenger and Star Tribune, both had sought us out early in the game and helped to broadcast our project and mission.  Thinking now, you might want to know what other community
connections we made in that first year.

Share the RiverGorge was a committee I happened on when we first moved here over 4 years ago... I
hadn’t any deep environmental background to offer, but was excited to gather up kids (Hiawatha Park
Program) and materials to make the signage that is sprinkled thru the neighborhood prior to the event.
The kids gave the project fun energy and each year we have reused, revamped, added to the project.

An ELL teacher from Sanford Middle School responded to an invite to use Belle’s as a resource space for his class; they have come weekly now for a year and engage in projects related to adaptive reuse, environment, and neighborhood! Looking forward to this semester, as well!

Leadership students from Howe School came for several environmentally oriented sessions and we
provided paints/materials for signage in their community garden – kids offered up the creativity!

A call from East Lake Library invited us to set up a learning table that would support their County exhibit to highlight Recycling... a mutual interest!

Last summer was the first that we pulled together a table at the now-classic Longfellow CornFeed – so great to meet folks from all over the hood!!

Contacts to the City of Minneapolis resulted in our having installed both garbage and recycling containers on the boulevard, near the bus stop! We had entered the Adopt the Sewer project some months prior.

ReUse and Better Futures have been terrific resources for materials needed in adapting our space; most recently, we purchased a Leopold Bench (for bus stop) made by Better Futures employees! Simple but very cool!

The lovely folk of Minneapolis Toy Lending Library joined us on a Saturday morn to communicate their mission... Again, fitting well with our nurturing young in an environmentally sound manner.

Late fall, it was suggested that we apply to join the Longfellow Neighborhood Wildlife Habitat Site
designation... we applied, were accepted, and now are happy to honor its vision :)

Thankful to Boyd Huppert of Kare 11 for finding us and highlighting Belle’s on his 10,000 Lakes
program... very unexpected, very much appreciated... and fun!

As engaging as all of these connections have been, our favorite were those with young families... each and every, who came to find some fun at the TBox... together!!!

SOOO... hoping you get the idea that we are open to all kinds of ideas on how we might interact with the neighborhood. Please let us know if you have a ‘so crazy, it just might work’ kind of thought...

Looking forward to another year of building community - with your help!!

Want to give a giant thanks to Team Jen/ Nels n Nara - their energy is invaluable to the vision of the
project as is that of my boyfriend of 39 years, Mark - he's a peach ;)

AND a huge thanks for the MANY thoughtful donations – they help greatly to keep us in gear!!!