Although the meeting began with a few hiccups, we ended with three productive brainstorming groups which were focused upon implementing the three initiatives of 2017: Open Streets, Art Walk and Night Bike Ride. Before diving into eating the delicious meal provided by Suggarplums restaurant, NR Future introduced Naomi Williams from Impact Investment who briefly explained the importance of measuring the social impact of the NF Future Five grants. She encouraged participants to spread the word so NR Future can grow community involvement and continue to make a positive difference in New Rochelle.
The meeting continued as the community liaison then announced the NR Future Five grant awards for February: $500 for the Remington Boys & Girls Club Facade Restoration project, $500 for Shekinah Faith Ministries' Feeding New Rochelle: One Brown Bag at a Time and $250 Arts & Cultural grant for the Hugh Doyle Senior Center's Enhanced Arts program. The Facade Restoration project will paint over the graffiti on the wall by the front entrance, add shrubs and a bench to area. By doing so they will improve the perception people have of the club when they approach the neighborhood as well as when they come to take their driving since the dead end street is the start and end location for the NY State driving test. They plan to hold their community improvement day in late April or early May.
Shekinah Faith Ministries has been hosting their weekly community outreach program since January 2017 and the $500 will help them provide more freshly made brown bag lunches over a longer time frame while working with the Westchester Food Bank to supply more food donations to supplement the donations from the community. Feeding New Rochelle: One Brown Bag at a Time program begins every Wednesday morning at 9 with a small group of volunteers who assemble the brown bags with ham, chicken or turkey and cheese sandwiches with lettuce, an orange or apple, a bag of munchies, a napkin, condiments and a quote handwritten on a note card. Distribution takes place right in front of the church from noon until supplies run out.
The Enhanced Arts program at the Hugh Doyle Center is a weekly arts program offered on Wednesdays and began in March. For a nominal materials fee, it is open to any senior in the community with a basic knowledge of working with clay.
After awarding the NR Future t-shirt to the grant winners, NR Future staff asked if attendees would be interested in breaking into smaller discussion groups to open dialogue on how to shape and implement the three initiatives for 2017. the Night Bike Party, Open Streets and the Art Walk. Notes from each group can be accessed here: the Night Bike Party, Open Streets and the Art Walk.
The meeting concluded with NR Future thanking everyone for their input and reminding them the next MeetUp will take place on Thursday, March 9 at 7pm.