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.”
We have had a great couple of weeks at The Farm. The weather has been beautiful and our summer crops are coming in nicely. It has been a blast seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones during the weekend Harvest Parties.
Our Amazing Community
Big thanks to those who came out to The Farm the past few weekends. We have enjoyed blackberry cobbler made by one of our wonderful volunteers, made with Farm blackberries and eggs. Also, a huge thanks to the West Ozark Deanery Youth Group who helped prune the tomatoes. The Neilsen group picked blackberries, processed potatoes, and picked tomatoes. We are so grateful for each group helping to “cultivate a community without need.”
Summer is here, and the crops are doing extremely well. We have harvested some really yummy produce and are looking forward to this weeks harvest of: Squash, potatoes, onions, cabbage, beans, radishes, and garlic.
The weather has been perfect so far, and we are extremely grateful for this. It makes for a fun, cool, and exciting environment for you and your group to volunteer!
Hunger Relief distribution is underway. To date we have given away 1,965 pounds of food to local food programs and Non-Profits. Samaritan Community Center , NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter , Central United Methodist and LifeSource International. We have also redeemed giftcards, and are grateful to our community for helping feed the hungry in our area.
It’s a great time to be at The Farm, check our calendar for opportunities to bring your family and enjoy the day.
It’s been a hot and dry early summer, but the recent rains have provide some much needed relief to our crops. We received almost three inches over the past few weeks and it should provide a nice boost to current production.
Our Amazing Community
Huge thanks to those who came out to The Farm over the Memorial Day weekend to help pick blueberries, plant peanuts, and just enjoy the day. Also, thanks to Fellowship College who came out and help this past weekend and helped harvest blackberries and onions!
The past few weeks at The Farm have seen a flurry of activity as the summer crops are starting to come in strong.
We have a whole lot in the ground and planted peanuts, corn, and much more.We harvested around 15 pounds of blackberries this week, along with cabbage, peppers, and snap peas.
We are excited to share that the hens have started laying eggs! We collected 5 eggs this week, and are expecting many more throughout the summer.
We have planned to give some of our heavier produce such as tomatoes and potatoes to Hunger Relief efforts. They will begin to pick up and occur during the week if anyone wants to help with mid-week harvest and preparation for hunger relief.
It’s a great time to be at The Farm, check our calendar for opportunities to bring your family and enjoy the day.
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!
It’s hard to believe it, but we are finally harvesting and distributing food from The Farm!!!
We’ve come a long way this season & have a long way to go, but we have finally begun to see the literal fruit of our community’s labor.
We are so thankful and so proud of everyone who has made this possible.
You have all made this happen and it is because of all of those who have spent countless hours at The Farm that we can celebrate Harvest time is finally here!
Our Amazing Community
We are super thankful for everyone that joined us this week at The Farm for Harvest, planting, maintenance and the 1,000 other things we needed to accomplish.
We are especially thankful for the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership group who brought over 60 students out to The Farm last weekend. They accomplished so much for us and truly moved the needle on our work to date at The Farm.
They planted, helped with harvest, planted 150 pounds of sweet potatoes, and made our lives at The Farm a whole lot easier. Thank you amazing people!
We are also always thankful for our littlest Farmers who help show us that life isn’t always about what we accomplish, but more about who we are and just being present.
A whole lot happening this part of the year at The Farm. We were able to plant 150 blueberry plants which will produce a whole lot of fruit next season, but the blackberries are coming in very strong and we should have those to share in another couple of weeks.
We also wanted to share quick video on how our produce processing work. There’s a whole lot of work that goes on outside of most people’s view, but we want you to know that we are taking all the necessary steps.
Additionally, we were able to plant 150 pounds of sweet potatoes and we have a whole lot of green tomatoes. Broccoli slowed down a little because of the heat this past week, but we should be ready soon. The onions and salad greens are doing great. Unfortunately, we had bug issues with the squash. Fortunately, it was early enough to reset those and work towards a great crop for rest of season.
Project 7 Blueberries
We had the privilege of planting the 150 blueberry plants this past Saturday that we received as a part of Project 7′s Save The Earth Campaign during Earth Day. These blueberries will provide a great source of incredibly healthy food to our hunger relief efforts next year, so we are extremely thankful to our friends at Project 7 for their investment into the vision of The Farm. And thanks to all of those who participated in their campaign, it’s fun to see the direct impact to our community based on your efforts.
Harvest Share Members
This week we distributed our first food from The Farm to our Harvest Share subscribers & so far it seems the results are great. We’ve heard lots of stories of yummy meals & excitement to know where their food has come from.
Special thanks to our incredible Farmer’s Market team this week that was run by Jeff Melton, Anita Rausch and Mark Casey. Huge thanks to Hannah at The Farm for making things go as smoothly as they could.
Everyone should have received their weekly update by now, but if you haven’t please let us know at TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.
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.