Announcing a Matching Grant!
Cobblestone Project strives to create a community without need. We believe that bringing dignity to others in our community in basic ways is a step in the right direction. Giving our time and resources to our neighbors allows us to connect on a personal level with individuals who have a story to share.
I am happy to say that through your generous contributions we did receive our “End of the Year Match Donation” of $10,000. This incredible opportunity allowed each of our supporters to double their impact and is daily continuing to help us bring dignity to our NW Arkansas Community. This fundraiser was fully funded and your gift was matched dollar for dollar.
YOU helped us reach that goal and enabled us to continue to serve the needs of those living below the poverty line in Northwest Arkansas.
The dream of the Cobblestone Project is to work towards “A Community without Need” –this dream is likely considered unachievable. However, when our idea of community is redefined by the true needs of our neighbors, our hearts are stirred toward action.
As the seasons begin to change and people shift to the rhythm of Fall- there is something about the newness of this time that leaves us energized and excited for what lies ahead for Cobblestone. With that, we want to take this time to update you on some exciting changes within The Cobblestone Project. For the first time since this journey started in 2008, we have hired an Executive Director.
Fayetteville, AR (September 4, 2012) – The Cobblestone Project Board of Directors is excited to announce Katelyn Graves as the Executive Director of the Cobblestone Project, made effective September 4.
Katelyn has been serving with the Cobblestone Project for three years as the Operations Director. She grew up in Fayetteville, AR and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2009. Katelyn has a heart for the needs of this world and has served locally and globally for many years. She is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and continues to be humbled by the amazing community in which she lives.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have a such a strong servant leader in Katelyn,” said Jacob Kaler, co-Founder and Chairman of the Cobblestone Project Board. “We have been blessed to have had her as the Operations Director and know that she will step into this new role with a ton of energy and passion for our mission.”
The Cobblestone Project exists to work toward the dream of realizing “a community without need,” by identifying issues of social justice, connecting needs with willing resources, and fulfilling needs with sustainable solutions. Through initiatives such as Laundry Love, 3 Bags in 2 Days, Present in the City, the Cobblestone Farm, and others, real physical needs are being met and the restoration of dignity and respect of every person that makes up the greater Community of NW Arkansas is closer.
More information can be found at www.cobblestoneproject.org
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.
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.”
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.
For many of us our senior year of high school is all about planning a senior trip, getting your senior photos taken, no longer worrying about our ACT score and anticipating the exciting future on the horizon.
For others, their senior year is full of worries and stresses, usually things that young adults shouldn’t have on their shoulders.
Help-Portrait NWA longs to assist the latter group with the gift of photography by giving them a glimmer of hope and self worth through photos.
On April 28, Help-Portrait NWA had the privilege of working with several high school students. With 2 locations set up in NWA we photographed 20 students and hopefully restored a sense hope and even if just for that day allowed the students to be free of whatever worries they have. It was a wonderful day and as Austin Waters summed it up “It was narly!”
I saw students that day that probably did not think having senior photos was even possible…Help-Portrait NWA made it possible! Not only were photos taken and smiles shared, but these students touched our hearts as we hopefully did theirs.
As we wrapped up the event on April 28, I was left astonished once again at the thought that while all of our volunteers gave such a wonderful gift to our students, the students had also given us a gift! A powerful lesson of love, humility and graciousness is there for all to learn who participate.
Help-Portrait is not just about photos…It’s about hope. It is about showing people that good is still out there and people do care. Everyone is worth loving and being loved…that is what Help-Portrait is to me. I am not a photographer or editor but I am a person and I do have love…and that I can and will give.
Help-Portrait NWA has a spot for everyone, if you want to help give people hope and build their confidence we have a spot for you!
This week we will begin the work of harvesting the first spring crops & begin food distribution.
It’s a busy and exciting time at The Farm & the fruits of everyone’s labor is finally being seen.
We could use a little rain, but there is some in the forecast for this week. We have a lot of seeds in the ground that just need a little water to get them moving.
Our Amazing Community
Special thanks to everyone who helped at The Farm this week. It’s so great to see so many familiar faces & meet new ones.
The World Gym of Northwest Arkansas Volunteer Squad & their families came out on Saturday to help & they were so much fun!
I even think a few of the kids at The Farm even were lucky enough to get some tractor rides! The New Holland tractor from William’s Tractor continues to make The Farm a better place.
The Farm team took a break on Thursday to join our friends at the Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville Community Meal (somewhere we donate food to during the season), and were reminded just how incredible they truly are. Glenn Miller took some time to give us an update on the needs they are seeing every week & then the following day he brought a group out to The Farm to help cultivate the crops. It’s so amazing to being able to help each other & we are truly grateful for our friends at CUMC.
Our friends at Walmart continue to humble us as so many groups from so many different divisions continue to invest their time in The Farm showing us that they truly are committed to “Fighting Hunger Together.” We were thankful to have friends within Walmart ISD come out to The Farm again on Friday! Amazing company and amazing people!
We started initial preparation to plant the blueberries we’ll be receiving as a part of the Project 7 Earth Day Celebration partnership. We have 150 blueberry bushes on the way that will benefit the Northwest Arkansas community and our Hunger Relief Efforts. We love the direct impact that Project 7 is making in Northwest Arkansas.
The blackberries are starting to come in very well & we hope to be able to have enough to include in our Hunger Relief and Harvest Share Subscriptions!
We are planting a whole lot of flowers this season! Not only do they make The Farm looking amazing, but they really help to keep the bees in the field for pollination and erosion control between rows. We had some little fingers help us get them ready for planting!
We were thankful to have a number of students from Dr. Jennie Popp’s “Fundamental’s of Sustainability” class at The Farm on Saturday. They help with cultivation and also were able to see how The Farm serves as a “managed system for agriculture.”
Well…it’s not always great at The Farm & this Saturday it looks like our Farmer’s Market “Freedom” Van has finally died. We’ll be in need of another transportation and delivery vehicle, but until them we will just be thankful that it lasted as long as it did.
Visit The Farm
We are so encouraged every week and the number of people that come to add their hands and hearts to the vision of The Farm. We know that without our Northwest Arkansas community, none of this would be happening. You’re an incredible inspiration & you’re making an incredible difference in the lives of so many.
Thank you & upcoming farm service opportunities can be found online or we can coordinate times during the week via emailing us at TheFarm@CobblestonProject.org
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 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.
This past Saturday was the launch of 3 Bags in 2 Days new “Art in the Park” initiative!
We had been saying for a few months that if 1 person paints, then we will count it as a success….well, after a week of hitting up multiple community meals, churches, and other events with hundreds of flyers and announcements, the moment of truth was about to happen.
We had the main pavilion of Walker Park in Fayetteville reserved from 2-6 pm with dinner being served around 4:30. Come 1:30 as we were loading up to head out, I got an incredibly excited feeling. We pulled up to the park around 1:45 and much to my surprise…there were about 15-20 people waiting there for us to start painting!
It was beautiful before it had even begun.
Within 30 seconds everyone was at our cars unloading all the tubs and boxes. Tons of canvases, paint brushes, hygiene packs, resource flyers, clothing, household items and so much more was being carried to be laid out in the pavilion. When everything was laid out, organized and ready to go…we started!
Words cannot describe what joy filled my heart as the “Art in the Park” mixed CD I had made starting playing and the paint started flowing.
Within minutes, tons of people were sitting down and entering the world of their emotions. People were soon taken away to a different place of healing and restoration while letting the paintbrush be the tool that tells their story.
I looked to my left and there was a group of about 4 little kiddos painting away with the most joyful smiles I have ever seen. Paint all over their clothes and faces but not a care in the world. For just a few minutes…all was well.
As the day progressed onward with the same peaceful and beautiful momentum as the second that it had started, we saw about 60 people take time to paint.
The stories were simply beautiful.
They were stories of giving up life-long addictions, memories of their families, motivations through hardships, joy, pain and sorrow, and so much more.
Each had such emotion and life poured into it that it could not have been anything but a masterpiece. Everyone signed their work to validate it and give ownership. So many smiles and so many stories.
Art in the Park is something that we have been dreaming of for a long time coming and to see it manifested was humbling. I can’t stop thinking about it and the beauty and healing that it entailed. I am already ready for the next Art in the Park. I truly see the value in art and story-telling, more now than ever.
With restoration and healing on my mind,
PS- We have some BIGGGGG thank yous to send! Thanks to the U of A’s Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity for cooking and serving the yummy dinner! Also, huge thanks to Philip Thomas, of Novo Studio, for documenting the day with beautiful images that truly capture beauty and joy that was present.
2 million trees that will combat deforestation, fight erosion, provide oxygen, add moisture to the air, and provide food for families.
The great news is that some of those fruit “trees” will be donated to the Cobblestone Project Farm in Fayetteville to help in our Northwest Arkansas Community!
This week for every new “like” on Project 7′s Facebook page and every new follower on Project 7′s Twitter account, they will donate additional funds to one of their “Save the Earth” partners and plant more trees.
The great news is that some of those fruit “trees” will be donated to the Cobblestone Project Farm in Fayetteville to help in our Northwest Arkansas Community!
Project 7 will be providing approximately 150 blueberry bushes or two 300 foot rows of blueberries to The Farm. That’s a whole lot of blueberries!!!
These blueberries will provide much needed fruit that will be directed towards feeding families at risk for food insecurity in our community for years to come.
And as an added bonus, blueberries have many nutritional benefits that include being packed with Vitamin C, high in dietary fiber, and leading fruit in antioxidant.
How You Can Help
We will be working with Project 7 over the next few weeks to plant those blueberry bushes at The Farm, so there are also opportunities to come out to The Farm to help put them in the ground (more info coming).
You can also share this with your friends with a simple post like…
Twitter: In honor of #EarthDay, @Project7 will plant a tree back into the earth for every new twitter follower & facebook like. Let’s #SaveTheEarth!
Facebook: Our friends at Project 7 will plant a tree back into the earth for every new twitter “follower” and Facebook “like.” Go like and share!
Project 7 exists to do good around the globe. They make everyday products like bottled water, gum, mints and coffee that give back to seven areas of good.
Check them out at Project7.com.
Activities at The Farm are right on schedule & with the incredible weather we have been experiencing we are expecting a great harvest in the coming weeks. We’ve starting planting some of our summer crops to include tomatoes, okra, bush beans, and peas. Our Spring crops are doing great to include lots of potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, salad greens, spinach, and lots of herbs.
We are preparing for the first Bentonville Farmer’s Market of the year (last week of April) & hope you’ll plan on coming out to see us on opening day.
Our current production schedule is working towards May 5th as first distribution of Harvest Share Subscriptions (still a few available), and we will have more info out to subscribers as that time comes.
Weekly Farm Update
Nothing happens at The Farm without the hands & feet of our community. So many people continue to give their time & energy to seeing The Farm move forward, and we wanted to share a few of those many faces with you.
Diane, Emma & Nora
Our Farm Operations Team (Welcome Baldwin!)
Nick & Brad
Helene, Megan & Leslie
Will aka “The Deer Handler”
Harvest Share Subscriptions Still Available
One Farm subscription purchase simultaneously provides a season’s worth of healthy food for your family and for your neighbors in need – the people in your own back yard, the ones you may never have met but care for deeply.
By simply buying fresh, homegrown goodness for your family from The Farm, you can plant seeds of compassion and grow positive change in Northwest Arkansas.
Harvest Shares are available for $500 (prepaid) or via 6 monthly installments of $90 each (total $540).
For more information, please visit our Harvest Share Subscription page or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.
Volunteering at The Farm
There are opportunities every Saturday from 9am to 1pm to come out to The Farm and put your hands into the dirt.
It’s a great time of the year to be outside & it promises to be an opportunity for your family to serve together, play in the dirt & contribute towards helping those at risk for food insecurity in our community.
Our calendar page shows all the available dates & we can schedule groups during the week.