We are thankful for the partnerships that make all of this possible. Thank you to all of those people in our community that have been a part of planting the seeds, pulling the weeds & turning the soil. You have made this possible.
Additional thank you’s to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services , Downtown Bentonville, Inc., Walmart Stores & World Garden.
…the following is from Jennifer who is coordinating the Laundry Love Springdale efforts.
Thanks to people like Jennifer our community is working together to care for those in need in practical ways.
A Mother Gets Relief
Despair is being the mother of a 3-month old, a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old and not having money to buy diapers or wipes; and not having beds for your children to sleep on; and worrying that there is not enough money to feed your family.
Hope is receiving a helping hand and a friendly smile; being given diapers and wipes for your children; getting sleeping bags and pillows for your children to sleep on; getting soup that will feed your family for a few weeks; being asked, “Is there anything else you need?”
Made possible by the Cobblestone Project DC
the following video is from February of Jennifer explaining how they have been able to use the D.C. to connect needs and resources via Springdale Laundry Love. To find out how you can help, please visit the Laundry Love or Cobblestone Project D.C. intiative page
Emily Kaler, Katelyn Graves & Brad Godwin along with Samaritan Community Center friends Debbie Rambo & Jen Boyle travelled to Los Angles to participate in the !deation Conference. We asked for some thoughts and take-aways from their time there.
So what is !deation?
Technically, it is a non-profit conference, but after experiencing it I would better describe it as a safe place to be inspired. And even though I have never been to a non-profit conference, I could tell upon arriving this was like no other non-profit conference before.
The creative experience was very unique; the catwalk stage, the couches in the main conference room, the art and interactive networking areas. It was warm and impressive at the same time. I was intrigued by the size of the group (200 people), large enough to bring energy but small enough to have a chance to meet anyone. Let me tell you that I am a stay at home mom with no experience in the non-profit world except for helping start and oversee Cobblestone Project the last two years.
The only experience I bring to the table is from this relatively limited experience. Little did I know I was in the room with some of the biggest and brightest founders and organizations in the country. But it took me a while to figure that out. Why? Because of the massive humility that comes with these heroes. Everyone took notes on everything. Speakers stayed for the entire conference, they didn’t just dash in and leave. Everyone was a student, everyone wanted to learn, and everyone wanted to share. There wasn’t a feeling of competition among the group, but rather encouragement and inspiration.
The sessions and breakouts were thought provoking and inspiring. If I tried to recap everything you would give up on reading this because it would be so long, so I will list the speakers and highlight the ones that made a strong connection to me personally and ones I think might be a connection to us in NWA. I would encourage anyone to follow these people on twitter!
- Eugene Cho, One Day’s Wages – Inspiring people to give up One Day’s Wages for a cause they believe in.
- Andy Bales, Union Rescue Mission – YouAreTheMission.org A 10 step initiative to ending homelessness.
- Beth Kanter, Social Media Expert – “it’s not how smart one person is but how smart is your network?”
- Keith Kall, World Vision – Capitalism in the private sector. Capitalism = finding needs and turning scarcity into abundance then profitability will breed success.
- Greg Russinger, Just One – Everyday ideas for human care
The following ideas are things I think we could easily adapt right into NWA…
- Jeff Shinabarger, GiftCardGiver.com – Mail in gift cards and he will calculate your amount given and then send you a gift card for that amount for the store wanted by your cause. Consider hosting a “card” party!
- Lee Fox, koodooz.com – Caused based social networking for youth. A program designed to adapt into schools. Youth pick a cause and use social media and a website to spread the word of their cause and track hours and gain credit acknowledged by the white house.
- Marc Payan – expert in marriage and relationship skill training. Curriculum designed for integrating into public school system.
It goes without saying my head felt like it was going to explode after Day 1 (in a good way ☺). The !deation team was so wise to present a fun activity to keep it not only creative, but also fun. That night, a professional fashion show was presented to everyone attending the conference. It was showcasing Jedidiah clothing line. The music and models on the runway was just plain cool. And that is what was much needed after a long day of “!deating”!
In closing, I am honored to have been a part of this great group of people. My heart is lifted to keep up the fight in doing good. I’ve been inspired to dig deeper into ideas, make more connections and dream big.
I believe NW Arkansas is a place with great needs, amazing amount of resources and wonderful people who want to do good.
So, let’s get busy making some ideas become real solutions. It can be done!
Emily Kaler, Cobblestone Project Founding Member
The !ideation conference left me sincerely overwhelmed with the challenges in front of us, but inspired that we are capable of creating change in our community and our world. The people we met there oozed of mercy and humility.
This is something that was immediately evident when we walked in the room. We were all there together, to encourage, collaborate, and learn.
We met wonderful people and were truly blessed by all that Charles Lee and the !deation team taught us. After having time to think about the week, I put together a few takeaways that stood out to me:
- Collaborating is key: we should be working together as individuals and agencies to end the issues of justice and mercy in our communities.
- Take a breather: Evaluate how are we doing in accomplishing our goals of creating “A Community Without Need“?
- Heart check: Why are we doing this? How is my heart? We should never ask people to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. Servant leadership: the key is humility and being willing to sacrifice
- We need to find like-hearted people vs. like-minded people to join with us on our mission
- Story-telling is key: We need to be able to communicate what we are doing in a way that engages others and motivates change.
- Importance of engaging students in our area: came up with a few ideas… to be discussed shortly.
- Heart change: we need to change the way we talk and think about people who are homeless. (how quickly we categorize people by one facet of their lives: that they are without homes)
- We should never make excuses for inaction based on myths.
- Solutions to homelessness should be regionalized each city, suburb, and region of South CA (or NWA) should provide services for their own neighbors.
This is just a small part of what we learned this past week. If nothing else, we were able to meet incredible people, doing incredible things and all left us with the same message — Love human. Do good.
Katelyn Graves, Cobblestone Project Operations
April 10th was another planting day at The Farm; we had a bunch of children with their families out making it all happen.
Had opportunity to grab few minutes with Seth Haines about why he was out there today.
Whrrl Story of the day…
We asked Scott Page to share about how the story of compassion continues to be told here in NW Arkansas
When Mollie and I first got involved with Cobblestone Project, Laundry Love was the place we connected because we saw the value in people having their basic need of clean clothes met. Only later did we discover that clean clothes were just a small part of why we were there.
Later that summer when Cobblestone Project asked people in NWA to gather around the issue of homelessness through the 1,287 initiative (with Mark Horvath founder of InvisiblePeople.tv) we were impacted that there are that many individuals in NWA with out a home. However, through this awareness initiative we became learners, listeners, and storytellers.
At the 1,287 event when I heard directly from a homeless person, I listened to how different his life was than mine. My heart broke and my life was changed.
There I learned on a national scale that the average age of homelessness is 9 years old. That night as I slept on the campus of the University of Arkansas, I had a 9 year old daughter in my tent. I realized how blessed I am that night, but I also realized I am required to do something different. So when Mollie and I get the chance, we tell the stories.
That’s what led me to telling the story to our 9 year olds’ third grade teacher, in a parent teacher conference. As she heard the story she asked if I would come share with the students about what homelessness really is, and what it looks like in NWA. We talked about how the kids could really get involved on a regular basis so putting our first foot in the water. One way the students wanted to get involved was by collecting quarters for Laundry Love Project, and they started bringing spring and summer children’s clothes to be distributed to families either at Laundry Love, Our Step, or other area agencies.
There were so many things that impacted me as I engaged with these students, here were a few.
First was there excitement and their willingness to help so one in need their own age, and some even wanted to be a part of the Laundry Love Project.
Second, they gave so many quarters, “third graders”, children who are just beginning to get an allowance are giving out of the little they receive.
Third, the clothes they brought in were in great condition, they didn’t give their hand me downs, their old worn out stuff, they gave their best, their favorites.
The biggest impression this experience has made on me with these students is when they realized how much they had been blessed and that now they have the opportunity to be a blessing to someone in return. It is a great opportunity to be a connector of people when we are Listeners, Learners, and Storytellers.
We all have the opportunity to engage, and it is so important to find way to engage our children with a community in need find a family that you can befriend, the listen to them, learn from their life, only then can we be storytellers.
It stories like this that continue to tell us that our community cares, and that everyone is empowered to make a difference in their community. The Laundry Love community was blessed by the students $215 donation; however, the greater story took place this past month’s Laundry Love Project in Rogers. To our great joy, some of the students actually came and rather than giving Cobblestone Project their quarters, they were the ones who feed them into the machines as they served those in need.
Thanks to the incredible students of Ms. Duncan’s class at Bellview Elementary School. You are incredible examples to follow.