From February, 2009

1st Cobblestone Project Green Room produces some amazing ideas, next steps and ways to plug in…

It was an encouraging evening at the Green Room as ideas flew across the room from people with sincere hearts wanting to make a difference in their communities.  Plans were shared, connections where made and some beautiful things emerged.

Here is a small list of the next steps that people will be working on over the coming weeks…so incredible.

This list of next steps also provide a chance for people to plug in and be a part of these ideas becoming reality.  If you see anything that catches your email, please take a minute to reach out to the point of contact listed below for more information.

We also put together a short video of the first Green Room


Shear Kindness

Connecting with other Salons & Stylists

  • Fayetteville is now on board through The Parlor
  • We have short list of other stylists we are already associated with to call

Continue working with Mia Bella Salon to explore ways to fund our minimal costs

  • Donation bucket at cash register…maybe help with GNFD too?
  • Day of haircuts at Mia Bella Salon when profit goes to Shear Kindness
  • Jewelry fundraiser with clients at Mia Bella Salon

Consider expanding to other events/organizations as more stylists come on board

  • Coordination with Laundry Love Project
  • Connection to High School Proms?
    • Two high school girls interested to head this up.
    • Make-up donated from Well-Quest along with a make-up artist who has volunteered to help.
    • Connection with counselor from Fayetteville High who has been doing this prom thing for a couple of years

Point of Contact:  Brittney Moore (brittney@cobblestoneproject.org)


Laundry Love Project (Rogers & Fayetteville)

Quarters

  • Work with local resturants to host a Cobblestone Project night in which they donate a % of their profits in exchange for Cobblestone Project raising awareness of their business (already have one resturant on board)
  • Scott Page from Fellowship Bible Church would like to announce in Sunday Rogers Community Serivce and approach small community groups for sponsorship and meals

Coordinate with Good Neighbor Food Drive to bring donated canned goods to LLP to be given away to those in need.

Point of Contact: 

  • Fayetteville:  Ryan & Julie Rusch
  • Rogers:  Josh & Jennifer Arkins
  • Email:  llp@cobblestoneproject.org

Good Neighbor Food Drive (GNFD)

Improve Tactical Capabilities

  • Obtain city maps (BV/Rogers/B’ville/Lowell/Springdale/Fayetteville/etc) that show where subdivisions/neighborhoods are located w/in a city (similar to how a political election).
    • Look at the topography of a map…mark out subs that have participated…and you can see those that haven’t
    • Create quarterly goals to add existing GNFD’s to our base each year with the long term vision of getting all subdivision within a county to participate in bi-annually.
  • The tactic above will work collaboratively with the current spreading of GNFD via word or mouth/social networking

Timing

  • Washington County GNFD’s will occur on a quarterly basis
  • Benton County GNFD’s will occur monthly (targeting the last Sat/Sun of the month)

GNFD Brand

  • Building of GNFD brand (working with Henry to solidify/create)
  • Brand recognition will help bring in corporate support…especially as it relates to the Grocery/Can Good Match program vision

Identify new GNFD channels (execution of such being discussed)

  • GNFD Rivalry Week (example: B’ville vs. Rogers Football…big weigh in at half-time)
  • GNFD Birthday Parties
  • GNFD Golf Tournament

GNFD growth

  • Work with network of friends/family outside of NW Arkansas to help support the GNFD service project initiative in their communities
    • Portland/Tampa Bay/San Antonio/Little Rock
  • Promotion of GNFD within a NWA business…what does that look like?  Destiny mentioned she was given the green light at the hotel she works at to place GNFD donation
  • Collection center and possibly small GNFD awareness message at the hotel front desk.  Since she interacts with business travelers from all over the country…could that message be in the form of a GNFD postcard placement that could further grow GNFD nationally? 

Partnering with Food Banks and Initiative Partners

  • Work to obtain letters from our food bank/shelter partners that validate in their words what we have accomplished together with our community of neighbors
  • Homeless/Laundry Love Project – Sharing food donations directly with the disadvantaged at Laundry Love/taken directly into the woods for those living in tents?

Point of Contact:  Gabe & Michelle Rodriguez (food@cobblestoneproject.org)


Don’t miss the next Cobblestone Project Green Room on March 15th starting @ 5:30 p.m.  Visit the Green Room page for more info.

Laundry Love Project Fayetteville – Stories of Hope, a Life that is Weathering the Storm and Part 2 of the Walmart ISD Coat Drive

The reality of Laundry Love Project is two-fold.  Sometimes there is hope in watching the progress of some, yet sometimes the extremity of the need seems almost defeating…

Below are is an email from Ryan Rusch (ryanrusch5@yahoo.com) when I asked him if there were any stories that he wanted to share from February’s Laundry Love Project Fayetteville….


In Ryan’s Words…

“I guess I’ve been a little hesitant to write a story because not all of them were good.  I felt a little discouraged after leaving because I just can’t always help people’s situations.  I know it comes with the territory, but maybe it just got to me last time.  
 
We had another busy night with a lot of new faces.  Once again the washers and dryers were loaded full most of the night and the laundromat was crammed with people with all kinds of stories. 

Some make you smile and some make you wish you could do more…..
 
One, 18 year old boy has been homeless since Christmas day after a fall through with his mother.  As he told me his experience of living in a tent through the ice storm, I just thought this is a lot for an 18 year old kid.  Through a series of events he is stranded in Fayetteville away from any family or friends and trying desperately to get to a friend up north that is willing to help him get back on his feet…he just needs a bus ticket.
 
One woman told me the story of her daughter in prison that just had a baby.  Now she is taking care of her 5 week old grandaughter till mom gets out in 6 months.
 
Or some that make you smile….
 
One young mother that has been coming since we started in September just bought a car with her boyfriend.  When I saw her it was the first thing she said to me (and she said it very proudly), “We bought a car!”  As she took me outside to show it to me, I couldn’t help but be very happy for her and what she has overcome.

We did have the priviledge of distributing 3 full bags of coats that were collected and donated by Walmart ISD during their coat drive last month.  That was enough for just about everyone that came that had need, but we’ll bring more in March.

Thanks to Justin and Tara Wilkinson for bringing pizza for everyone…and all who volunteered their time to serve.” 


 I traded a few emails back and forth with Ryan on this one…just to offer a little encouragement.

You see, we may not be able to help everyone everytime, but we can never underestimate the value of our attempt.  It’s in this struggle that we find the deeper meanings of why it is we do what we do.

It reminds us that the need is greater than the response, and that “small” things like a bus ticket become a way to literally change someone’s entire world. 

I pray this 18 year old man returns because there will be a bus ticket waiting for him.

On the other hand, a new car?  How amazing…!  We are not saying that it did, but if the money saved from not having to wash laundry was able to be redirected into a car…that’s a success story!

There are many times that transportation is the difference between being able to work to support a family and being homeless.

So, we celebrate with this young mother because there is hope and it is alive.

One last thing…the people that volunteer their time and give their money to make Laundry Love Project are my heroes.  What amazing love…

I’ll end with this quote I read off of a Starbucks coffee cup two days ago…it just seems to describe what Laundry Love Project has become.

——–

There is a subtle difference
between a mission and a promise.

A mission is something you strive to accomplish –
a promise is something you are compelled to keep.

One is individual, the other shared.

When a mission and a promise are one and the same…
that’s when mountains are moved and races are won.

——–

Rogers Laundry Love Project Starting to take the Shape of a Small Community

It would seem like any other get together. Kids running around laughing, women talking about families, men grouped together sharing stories of their own. You would expect to see this in any backyard or living room in America, not in a laundry mat. However, that was the scene from February’s Laundry Love Project in Rogers.

As we fed quarter after quarter into the machines, moved laundry from washer to dryer, folded and stacked piles of clothes….we talked and we shared. Language barriers did not get in the way, being strangers did not matter, cultures and status had no place. We were just a group of friends hanging out on a Friday night.

With every washing machine and dryer going, we told the triumphs of our children, we heard to heart break of lost jobs.  We shared the horror stories of the recent ice storm, and we had hope for the times to come.

This iniative isn’t one of just service.  It is of relationships and love.  It is just as rewarding for the ones who serve, as it is for the ones who are served.

As we launch into this new year, I hope you will consider how you can participate. I mean who doesn’t like hanging out with friends on a Friday night?

For more info, go to the Laundry Love Project page.

Chainsaws + Gasoline = Community

Thanks to some incredible volunteers, a few chainsaws and a little gasoline…Feb 7th & 8th’s NW Arkansas Ice Storm Clean-up was incredible.

There are some sore backs and arms out there today…

It’s truly amazing to see how many people have a sincere desire to help their neighbors and make a difference.  It’s also a great reminder that when people understand the context of the need and have a common experience to work within, nothing is impossible.

Here are a few stories from this past weekend’s clean up that were especially great.  These are best told by Scott Page whose initiative was the catalyst in coordinating the weekend’s events.


In Scott Page’s words…

I wanted to share about a couple of the people we were able to help this past weekend, through the process of cleaning up the storm.

The first is one of the sweetest women in our church “Ms. Dorthy”.

I got to know Ms. Dorthy through the passing of her husband Bud.  When Bud went to be with the Lord, Dorthy ask me to perform the service, it was my first funeral.  Dorthy has a very special ministry at our church – she prays for our elders as they meet, she a part of a prayer team that meets weekly.

What she can’t do physically she truly seeks God’s help spiritually. This past week she needed physical help and didn’t know how she would get her yard taken care of.  It was such a blessing to her, when 25 strangers showed up, and took care of the mess in less than an hour.

Another story is a direct product of the relationships that are built at Laundry Love Project on a Friday PM.

We met Michelle at the Rogers LLP last month, and she came in again this month.  Through building trust and a relationship, she told us that she had been with out power all week and had a big lot with a lot of trees down.

Out of the eight properties we did in Rogers on Saturday, Michelle’s was by far the biggest and had the most trees down. There would have been no way she could have taken care of these needs on her own.

However once a community of people came together to seve this woman, her needs were met in under an hour.

In closing, these were all people that when the day began, they did not know each other.  However, by the end of the day they had shared experiences, shared food, familes had shared memories, and because of this day, lives were impacted and relationships were deepened.

Scott

(scpage@fellowshipnwa.org)


It’s amazing to see how an ice storm can be a tool to be used to show that people matter, a community can be built and needs can be met.

Beautiful stories…

Times are getting more difficult here in NW Arkansas…actions plans being developed at Cobblestone Project Green Room

Times are becoming more difficult here in NW Arkansas and this article from Sunday’s paper seems to demonstrate this very clearly.

It’s a sobering article that demonstrates the need is great and will become greater.

Ark Democrat-Gazette Article:  Nonprofits battling to keep pace with growing need (http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Special/251883)

The Cobblestone Project will be discussing this article, brainstorming ways to make a difference and offering the opportunity for people to get plugged in at the upcoming “Cobblestone Project Green Room” on Feb 22nd @ 5:30 p.m. in Rogers.

Visit the Green Room page on the website for more information.