From Cobblestone Project Stories

Jessie’s Adventures Continue

Have you met Jessie and her sons?

Jessie and her two sons have become regular volunteers at the Cobblestone Project Farm. We appreciate her dedication and passion for helping at the farm to feed the hungry in Northwest Arkansas.

And we’re blessed by Jessie’s entertaining blog posts about her Farm visits. She makes volunteering sound fun. We have room for you to come play and help too.  :)

Cobblestone Project volunteers

Jessie’s boys harvesting

Volunteering can be fun when you’re doing something that you care about. There were bees, boys, planting, playing and eating involved. Obviously they know how to have fun. Thanks Jessie, we appreciate you!

Read about Jessie’s latest farm adventures.

Learn more about volunteering or the Farm.

Thanks for helping to create a community without need.

Fun at Cobblestone Farm

The Cobblestone Project depends on the generosity of volunteers like Jessie.

There are many ways that you can support our Farm; buy produce at the Bentonville Farmer’s Market, buy a Harvest Share, sponsor a row, or volunteer. 

volunteers, Cobblestone Project FarmMeet Jessie and her family.

They strive to live a simple, purposeful and sustainable life while enjoying the beauty of the Ozarks.

Jessie and her two sons started volunteering at the Farm in March of this year. They wanted to volunteer somewhere that was a good fit for their values and lifestyle. Thankfully for us, they chose our Farm for the opportunity to learn about farming and feeding the hungry in NWA.

After meeting Jake Melton, our Farm manager, they were turned loose to plant squash and dig in the dirt. Read more about Jessie’s March farming adventure in her colorful photo blog about Volunteering for Cobblestone Project Farm.

You can see our farm come to life through the help of Jessie and many other dedicated volunteers. Stay tuned for more farm adventures from Jessie and her sons! 

Thanks Jessie! We appreciate your help, photos and passion for supporting our projects.

Creating a community without need in NWA.

Cobblestone heads to D.C.

 

Last week, Cobblestone participated in a forum at the White House. We received an invitation from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and the Office of Public Engagement to participate in a meeting to discuss the important role that social innovators play in expanding opportunity and addressing social issues. We were so honored and excited to be a part of this, and loved getting to meet some true world-changers.

Faith-based social innovators from all over the country came together for this event. The day consisted of panels, group discussions, and input from Senior Administration Officals. We explored how “faith-based organizations are creating innovative models and entrepreneurial ventures to make a positive impact on our economy and our society, often while serving our most vulnerable communities.”

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Joshua DuBois  & Jonathan Greenblatt  for hosting such an amazing group of people. The impact of their work was evident by the many groups that were represented during the meeting. People from different backgrounds, faiths, and passions gathered together to address social issues. The common denominators were the needs of our world, and the craving for sustainability in meeting those needs in communities around the country.

 

 


(Board members, founders, and team inside The White House)

 

 

A few things we took away from this meeting:

1.The impact local communities have as it relates to social justice issues. Communities are taking care of communities in a beautiful way all over the nation. We walked away proud and honored of what our community is doing in Northwest Arkansas. We are humbled to be a small part of a bigger movement within our community.

2. Collaboration is STILL key. We talk frequently about collaboration, but the importance of this virtue was reiterated while we were in D.C. This is a good reminder to engage with those in our community who fighting with us on ending issues of social injustice.

3. The people who are truly making a difference don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

We want to take this time to thank each one of you for making this possible. This opportunity was a reflection of all of the hard work you have done, and we are extremely grateful for your dedication and commitment to Cobblestone. We are humbled by the families and individuals who have paved the way for social innovation in NW Arkansas. Thank you for continuing to strive towards ” A Community without Need.”

 

30 Days 4 Change!

April was a whirlwind of a month, and we loved every minute of it!

The students at Bentonville High School who participated in “30 Days 4 Change” did an amazing job.

With the help of Scott Herron, Teacher and Student Advisor, the groups were able to accomplish a tremendous amount for local organizations.

We are excited to announce that winner of the first ever 30 Days for Change & a grant of $1,000 is….LifeSource International.

Congratulations to the student group who made this possible- Kelly Xia, Emily Sellers and Shelby Thompson.

Thanks to Kevin Fitzpatrick, Corrie Rusch, Kim Garret, and Mary Ley for sitting on the judges panel. We are grateful for their commitment to Cobblestone BHS, and caring about the needs of our community. Their participation in this initiative only validated what the students campaigns.

Mary Ley the Executive Director of Communication/PR & Community Partnerships for Bentonville Public Schools, said she had an incredible experience and loved what the students were able to learn. “After yesterday, I went home on  top of the world thinking of what wonderful kids, teachers, and community we live in.”

With the judges expertise and deep roots in our community, they helped make the decision to name LifeSource the winners.

The judging criteria was based on; impact, sustainability, creativity and social innovation.

They felt that the LifeSource group went above and beyond on all of these areas, and created a model that will continue for years to come. They constructed and built 4 raised garden beds on the property of LifeSource Int. Fresh produce is something that will benefit their food pantry and provide healthy meals to the under-resourced in our community.

All of the students did a wonderful job, and choosing a winner was not an easy task. Here is a recap of all the groups accomplished during 30 Days for Change:

99 Balloons: Led by Elliott Miller, Caroline Fox, Courtney Cassin, and Marissa Spear raised over $700 to send medical equipment to an orphanage in Ukraine. They also participated in a monthly volunteer opportunity, and raised awareness of rEcess at BHS.

7Hills: Led by Sarah Newton, Haley Hogue, Myles Markey, Erin Mertes,  and Ellen Mertes. Over $1,000 was raised by this group to help the initiatives at 7 Hills. They sold bracelets to local neighborhoods and shared the mission behind 7 Hills.

Saving Grace: Led by Morgan Drish, Hannah Amerson, Morgan Jones, Lindsey Martin, and Demi Moore. The students were able to help spread the word about Saving Grace. They took student polls, handed out brochures, and promoted the services Saving Grace provides. They improved their social media campaign and helped create new marketing materials for the organization.

The groups not only met needs of local organizations, they were able to learn about our community as well.  We know that students like these are our future. They can change not only Northwest Arkansas, but the world.

We were honored to partner with them on this journey and we are looking forward to next year. If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved- email us here.

 

30 Days for Change

The “30 days 4 Change” student groups from Bentonville High School have been hard at work with their local nonprofit partners (Samaritan Community Center, 99 Balloons, Life Source, Saving Grace, and 7 Hills)!

The month of April has been busy as the groups  continue to implement their impact campaigns.

The group partnered with SAMCC is planning a can food drive to stock the food pantry at the center. They will be hosting it through Bentonville High School, and local Bentonville Neighborhoods. The Rogers Samaritan Center serves 100-150 families/week through their food pantry, and are in need of canned goods.

99 Balloons helps others engage children with special needs along with their families, locally and globally.  The BHS student group is volunteering with rEcess, and raising funds to send equipment to children to Ukraine.

Life Source International and the BHS Students are building raised garden beds on location at LifeSource. LifeSource desires to help families in need in Northwest Arkansas, and will be able to provide good, healthy options through raised garden beds.

The Saving Grace Group has planned to help with new marketing materials, and promotion for their Butterflies & Blooms Event. The students are also polling those in their school to collect data for Saving Grace, as they plan for a new campaign.

The 7 Hills team will be hosting an event to raise awareness about homelessness in NWA. The group plans to spend the night outside to raise awareness and money for 7 Hills.

This is the full last week for the students participating in 30 Days for Change, and there is still plenty to be done.

Our next in school meeting will be April 26th, followed by the finale day on April 30th. The judges panel will take place on May 7th and the winners will be announced that night.

Don’t forget to check back to see the latest updates,pictures and stories.

BHS Cobblestone copy

Bentonville High School Kicks off Cobblestone Project Chapter

For those who don’t have the opportunity to work directly with teenagers it might be hard to understand where they are coming from. They might seem a little odd to most adults, as they have their particular set of interests and ideas about the world. Most of them might seem silly, or rude, or awkward to many outside of their culture but after 9 years of teaching and 3 years of youth ministry this seemingly different group never ceases to surprise me. Maybe they are hard to understand as we (adults) see them but at every turn there are some that are every bit as excited about making a difference in the world, bringing dignity to their fellow humans, and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves, as we think that we (adults) are.

Putting feet to their desire to serve their community set in motion the establishment of BHS Cobblestone Project. After sharing with some students the driving force and mission of Cobblestone Project and mentioning to them that there might be a chance for a club to form and then work with local NPOs they didn’t hesitate. To borrow language from Cobblestone project and having adapted it to fit BHS Cobblestone Project our mission statement is as follows: Our purpose is drawn from the belief that every person has a unique and immeasurable value because of our shared human story. It is this story that is defined by a movement towards the renewal and restoration of the image that all people were created for a purpose. Every human heart deserves dignity, respect and the opportunity to fully realize this purpose.

The strategy to take these ideas and turn them into action will be approached by 1) Identifying Issues of Justice & Mercy, 2) Connecting Needs with Willing Resources and 3) Fulfilling Needs with Sustainable Solutions.

Among other things we will be doing an annual coat/shoe drive, participating in regular initiatives from Cobblestone Project as well as conducting a school wide imitative in the Spring called “30 days for change” (more info coming).

The students are fired up! Every meeting I seem to see new faces and on a weekly basis encounter fellow staff members or parents who are increasingly interested in what we are doing. We have been interviewed in a High School sports talk magazine, broadcasted by our student newscast in the daily morning announcements (reaching approximately 4000 people every morning) and approached by the Executive Director of community relationships and PR for the Bentonville Schools.

It’s been a fast and encouraging journey so far. The “30 days for change” initiative has sparked a lot of interest with students this spring as we have almost 40 participants signed up to work with now 7 local non-profits. I am inspired by the energy, passion and desire in the students at Bentonville High School to improve the local community of NWA. The students in the club come from all types of lifestyles and personal beliefs but see a common goal as more important than self-promoting and are willing to put aside their busy schedules to be a blessing to their community and without question their teacher and club sponsor. I am very thankful to Cobblestone Project and their willingness to partner with Bentonville High school as well as the principal of BHS, Kim Garrett for her continued support of our student body and their desire to be creative and active in their communities and am excited about what the future holds.

- Scott Herron (@scaherron), BHS Teacher

For more information on how you can get involved or follow along with this amazing movement, please email BHS@CobblestoneProject.org and you can follow along on Twitter (@CSProjectBHS) or Facebook.

 

 

HOPE-NWA-FLYER

HOPE NWA 2011

Veterans, homeless, and those in need in Northwest Arkansas will be served at HOPE NWA 2011 resource event.  This event will provide free medical, vision, dental screening, haircuts, clothing, groceries, legal advice, and Veteran’s services.

We are excited to be participating with the community to serve our community & we are excited that InvisiblePeople.tv Founder, Mark Horvath, will be returning to NW Arkansas to serve with us.  Mark has been an incredible friend to our community beginning at our 2009 “1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally“.  Mark has help bring awareness & understanding to the story and the faces of those in need in our community & we glad to have him return this year to serve our community.

There are many ways you can help…

Please contact Kevin Fitzpatrick, kfitzpa@uark.edu for more information on other ways to help.

Come join us in serving our community!
Cobblestone Project

January Cobblestone Project Update

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The Farm

The 2011 season for The Farm is underway!

It is hard to believe the opportunities that have presented themselves over the past few months and we are truly excited about what is ahead.

We are excited to announce that the Cobblestone Project Farm is moving to FayettevilleNew Heights Church in Fayetteville has graciously donated the use of 10 acres of their land in West Fayetteville to be the new home of the farm.

farm

This move will greatly expand the scope of The Farm to include:  expanded food production capacity, work share programs to create commerce & jobs, agricultural education partnerships & a large increas

e in the ability to serve the under-resourced all over NW Arkansas.  We are extremely grateful to the people of New Heights Church for their vision.  We could not dream this big without your vision, and we are looking forward to this new partnership.

There will be a Farm volunteer information & orientation luncheon on Saturday, February 19th from 10 am to 12 pm in Fayetteville (lunch will be provided).  Please register to attend (location information on Volunteer Hub).

Opportunities to volunteer at The Farm will start in March, and those dates will be available soon.  We would ask that you consider attending on Feb 19th as it will provide a broad overview of production plans and volunteer roles.
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D.C.

This past year we were incredible blessed by a member of the community who graciously helped start the D.C. initiative.  As a result, the back of house engine that is needed to support many of the Cobblestone Project initiatives was able to drive so many things behind the scenes.  This includes a home for 3 Bags in

2 Day, support for the 5 Our Step families that were placed in homes this past year, Laundry Love prep & staging as well as some of our Green Rooms and gatherings.  As a result of the DC, we have seen a new level of capabilities and effectiveness throughout all of our initiatives.

DC

So, in order to fully support the continued development of the various initiatives, the DC will be following the Farm to Fayetteville.  It will be located very close to the Farm site and be able to serve in a new capacity of processing the harvest, cold storage, etc.

The new D.C. will take a lot of effort to get it up to the level we need to support our requirements, so there are some electrical, plumbing and cleaning needs if any groups are able to help.  Given a little elbow grease, the DC will be a perfect new home.

If you would like to help with bringing the D.C. up to speed, please send an email to DC@cobblestoneproject.org or watch the Volunteer Hub for staged volunteer days.
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!dea Camp: Orphan Care

We are pleased to be a supporting organization bringing The Idea Camp to Northwest Arkansas.

The Idea Camp is a collaborative movement of idea-makers who facilitate hybrid conferences and develop resources for people who desire to move ideas towards implementation. Facilitated by a growing collective of innovative thinkers and practitioners from numerous disciplines, participants gather around topics of interest to encourage & inspire one another, share practical wisdom from the field, and develop viable networks for idea-making.

IC

The upcoming Idea Camp (Feb 25th & 26th in NW Arkansas) is focusing on the subject of Orphan Care. It will facilitate fresh, honest and transformative conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners on topics including US & International care, community development, trafficking of orphans, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, HIV/AIDS, special needs, cross-cultural & religious dynamics to care, and many more. The desire is to live life as God’s loving expressions of grace and hope to our world through tangible acts of care for orphans.

There will be balance conversation between Int

ernationl & US needs for orphans, foster care, mentoring and preventive care.  In fact, many local NW Arkansas organizations will be presenting include 99 Balloon, The C.A.L.L, NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Keypoint Church, Titus Task, Potter’s House, Central United Methodist Church, Cobblestone Project and Mike & Susan Duke will be sharing their experience as Child Advocates.

For more information, and to register, visit https://www.theideacamp.com/.

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In Closing

Thank you to everyone that gives unceasingly to serve our community.  You are the heroes & we could not be more grateful to live in a community like NW Arkansas

Take Care,

The Cobblestone Project

“Aggressively Pursuing a Community Without Need”

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Click to Download Cobblestone Project January 2011

click document icon to download a printable version of the Cobblestone Project January 2011 Update

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Cobblestone Project 2010 Year Ending Reflections

As 2010 comes to and end, we wanted to pause for a moment to reflect on just what an incredible year it was. We want to say thank you to everyone who loaded dirty clothes into a laundry machine, dug their hands into the soil, stirred a pot of soup, hauled a mattress for a new home, swept the floor at the DC, packed a toothbrush into a bag, picked up frozen boxes of chicken, cut wood for heat, snipped a lock of hair and who sat and listened to the thousands of stories that people in our community had the opportunity to live.

None of this is possible without you, and because of you our community is a better place. We hope that 2011 begins with a renewed drive to meet the needs of our community with a light that can only be explained on the other side of heaven. May grace & peace fill your homes this holiday season. Thank you.

Click to download:  Cobblestone Project 2010 Year End Update