When approached by a friend of Cobblestone Project, we were humbled by their idea to throw a Christmas party benefitting Laundry Love Project. Friends and family gathered as they normally do to celebrate Christmas, but with a new reason for celebration. Thanks to the McIntyre Family for hosting this amazing party and gifts that will go to benefiting our community.
For more information, or to learn about Laundry Love, visit our website.
Many times, we are unable to capture the amazing things that happen at Laundry Love NWA. Currently, we operate 4 Laundry Loves in Northwest Arkansas. We have selfless families who continually give up their Fridays to help our community. Our volunteers always look beyond doing laundry to hearing and sharing stories with those engaged in Laundry Love. When you participate in LLP you easily see the relationships that have been formed outside the walls of the laundromats. Recently, the Springdale edition of Laundry Love saw a need beyond laundry, and helped provide local students with school supplies.
This story comes from our Springdale Laundry Love Coordinator, Lindsey Kelley:
Laundry Love Project Springdale serves people on the East side of Springdale. We serve around 24 families every month, many that have students in the Public School System. The students range from elementary to high school and cover over 5 different schools. We serve among the poorest population in Springdale, and possibly Northwest Arkansas. We knew that there was a HUGE need to provide school supplies to the families. Thankfully, we had a donation given to us that allowed us to purchase 30 backpacks and fill them with necessary school supplies. We passed out a backpack to each school age kid that was there and were even able to send a few home with families that did not have their kids with them. The families were very grateful! The smiles on the kids faces were priceless. Several of the kids proudly wore their backpacks around the laundry mat and did not take them off. It’s such a small gesture on our part, but impacts these kids (and their families) profoundly. We will definitely serve the families in this way every year. This was a wonderful experience for the volunteers as well! There is nothing better than being able to witness the pride a child feels when receiving their new backpack! We are thankful for those who helped make this possible.
We know that dignity can come from not only washing clothes, but also giving something as small as a new backpack. We believe every person, family, and student possesses worth and when we are able to aid in this- it is an amazing experience of true community.
The story of Laundry Love is a powerful one, and if you haven’t had a chance to hear it- we encourage you to. We are honored and humbled to be a part of this larger story of cleaning the clothes of those living in poverty and converting laundromats into hubs of relief to those around us. Thank you for helping us meet a need and striving towards, “A community without need.”
For more info or to share another story, email us at email@example.com
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.”
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!
We are so thankful to Mrs. Creekmore’s 1st Grade at R.E. Baker Elementary Class for their amazing Valentine’s Day Laundry Love donation. Together these amazing 1st Grader’s gathered laundry detergent & quarters to donate to help the Laundry Love efforts all over Northwest Arkansas. In total, their efforts will help over 20 families with clean clothes and a warm smile.
Their actions are a testament to the power of everyone to make a difference in serving your community however young or old you may be.
Through the simple sharing of a story these 1st graders joined some many others in our community who are giving of their time, energy & resources to make Laundry Love a place of relief, respect and compassion.
If you would like more information on how you can get involved with Laundry Love in Northwest Arkansas, please visit our Laundry Love initiative page or email LLP@CobblestoneProject.org
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
The first Help Portrait event for the year will take place on April 28th, 2012.
We’ll be focusing on doing portraits for High School Seniors and we’ll have locations in Fayetteville and Bentonville.
Volunteer registration is taking place on the Help Portrait NWA website (http://www.help-portrait-nwa.com).
Volunteer signups are underway so sign up today and spread the word!
Sat April 28, 2012, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
For more info, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are so thankful to share that 3 Bags in 2 Days has been selected as a part of Walmart’s “12 Days of Giving” campaign. We are overjoyed and blown away to have been nominated and selected; however, we know it is only because of every single person who has come alongside these efforts in Northwest Arkansas.
This is a reflection of your work, your dedication, and your compassion! And now we have the opportunity to empower these efforts of making small bags of compassion tools to the restoration of dignity, hope, and love.
Thank you Northwest Arkansas! We are humbled and honored to receive this investment into the efforts of 3 Bags in 2 Days (more info to come).
Here is a copy & link to Walmart’s announcement…
Walmart Gives $200,000 to 10 Nonprofits on the 12th Day of Holiday Facebook Campaign
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Dec. 23, 2011 – On the 12th and last day of its “12 Days of Giving” Facebook campaign, Walmart is awarding $200,000 to 10 nonprofits that are true heroes for their communities and have made selfless acts to help those in need. Over the last twelve consecutive days, Walmart awarded a total of $1.5 million to 145 organizations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Organizations being honored on the company’s Facebook page today are serving communities in: Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.
“Every community needs a hero—someone who is willing to take extraordinary and selfless action to help those in need,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director at the Walmart Foundation. “We are honored to give these inspirational community heroes the recognition they deserve and do a small part to help them achieve their mission.”
Walmart’s call for nominations for its “12 Days of Giving” Facebook campaign resulted in more than 5,400 nominations from Facebook users who shared photos and short descriptions of a nonprofit’s impact in its local community. A panel from the Walmart Foundation reviewed submissions and selected nonprofits with a focus on organizations that are providing basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and baby supplies.
The 12th day of giving highlights organizations started by extraordinary heroes, young and old, who unselfishly opened their homes and dedicated great amounts of time to provide food, clothing, shelter and a supportive environment for those in their community who needed help. The organizations being spotlighted today include:
We don’t get to post many stories from the Our Step program. If you know anything about the program, then you know that most of our friends that enter the program are dealing with issues of domestic violence and we try to be as sensitive as possible during these times.
Our latest candidate, Curtis entered the program 4 months ago (if you haven’t heard his story I recommend you watch his video). Curtis is currently an employee of the Samaritan Community Center (SAMCC) and was on the verge of becoming homeless. His co-workers began to spend time with him, heard his story and were moved into action. They soon realized the unbelievable potential and heart that this man has. They rallied behind him and invested time into learning the process behind the Our Step Program & helped him fill out his application. By the time he had filled out an application, we had 3 or 4 different co-workers call and recommend Curtis for the program. As soon as I met him, I realized why. Curtis has one of the most humble spirits I have ever encountered in my life. He was soft spoken, but continued to be extremely kind and grateful.
With any situation, we encountered a few bumps in the road. However, throughout his time in the program, Curtis showed tremendous initiative and responsibility. He wanted to pay back past debts, save his money and was determined to build a support community. SAMCC was able to give Curtis a new vehicle, which has helped him get to and from work and cut his previous transportation costs. Before we knew it, Curtis graduated from the program, started a savings account and is working on rebuilding his relationship with his son.
It is with this story that I am constantly reminded of the importance of relational support. Curtis is where he is today, because of the people in his life. He would tell you that the love and encouragement he gets day in and day out pushes him to make the positive decisions he is making. People like Nancy Seward, Tosh Pearson & Debbie Rambo who continually pour themselves out for others, like Curtis are the true heroes. He is currently attending a church in Bentonville, and goes every week with a few friends from SAMCC. He is building community, and with that community comes the relational support to help him succeed.
We can put people into housing, and give them the services they need. But, we are learning that true life change is created with a support structure of community. We are in the process of creating opportunities to engage in this initiative. If you are interested, or have comments, please email OurStep@cobblestoneproject.org
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.
- Helping to set-up (on Monday before the event) for the event…info on 7 Hills Center Website
- Helping to sort donations at United Way of Northwest Arkansas Gift in Kind Warehouse the week of Oct 14th
- 3 Bags in 2 Days will be passing our bags & you can help by passing out bags, collecting needed supplies & helping to pack the bags in preparation for the event.
- Shear Kindness will be cutting hair & you can help by cutting hair, assisting those cutting hair, donating supplies, etc.
- Donating Food Bags that will be distributed at the HOPE NWA Event. Sign up at 7 Hills Center Website
Please contact Kevin Fitzpatrick, email@example.com for more information on other ways to help.