Be in the know, you know
Seeking volunteers to help shape Fayetteville's future.
Cover photo by @clay_gambill on Instagram
If you are looking for ways to contribute your knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make a difference in Fayetteville, your timing couldn't be better! Pick from this list volunteer opportunities to get involved and make an impact.
30 Volunteers Sought for City Boards and Committees
The Fayetteville Flyer recently shared an updated list of vacancies on 13 of the city's boards, commissions and committees. From Animal Services to Arts, from Civil Rights to Active Transportation—one or more of these are sure to jump out at you. Deadline for applications is Friday, November 16th, 2018.
Fayetteville Protected Bike Lane Installation
Speaking of transportation, who wants to help build a more bike-friendly Fayetteville? Bike NWA, the regional advocate for all things cycling, is seeking volunteers November 12th-16th to help them install a protected bike lane along E. Rolling Hills Drive. The idea is to better connect existing bicycle infrastructure, and retrofit existing roadways, to better serve those who bike for both recreation and transportation. Check out the recent lanes that were just added in Springdale HERE.
A Community Visioning Festival
The Artist's Laboratory Theatre is set to host a 3-day arts-integrated festival from November 16th-18th, where the community is invited to envision a future South Fayetteville where equity is a reality for all. Events are free and open to the public, check out the schedule HERE. Leading up to the event, be on the lookout for opportunities to volunteer on DIY projects selected as part of the "Hands On, South Fayetteville" tactical urbanism challenge.
Finally, Mayor Lioneld Jordan is asking businesses, residents, and employees in Fayetteville to participate in the development of a Fayetteville Workforce Development Plan by providing feedback to an online survey. The feedback will used to help them identify specific measures to enhance employment and educational opportunities for all residents and to develop a skilled workforce which meets local business's needs.
The decision to create a Workforce Development Plan for the City of Fayetteville stemmed from the implementation of the Fayetteville First Economic Development Plan, which was formally adopted by the City Council in 2016. The Fayetteville First Plan outlined seven strategic focuses that provide an actionable guide to foster economic vitality and strengthen the City's impact on the Northwest Arkansas economy. Attracting, developing, and retaining a qualified and talented workforce is the third strategic focus, and the development of the Fayetteville Workforce Development Plan aims to realize this goal.
Tri Cycle Farms food recovery program is raising money to purchase a truck capable of pulling this trailer and the ton of food per week it'll help them recover and distribute.
For seven years Tri Cycle Farms has be growing its gardens and programs to fulfill the organization's vision of a world with food security, sovereignty and sustainability for all. Through a partnership with Whole Foods, their food recovery program has been able to divert tens of thousands of pounds of food each year from the landfill and help hundreds of families each week by getting wholesome, highly nutritious food into hungry bellies.
In fact, at the halfway point of 2018, Tri Cycle Farms had already harvested, recovered and shared over 60,000 pounds of high-quality, nutritious food with those who would otherwise not have access to it. That said, the Tri Cyclist's are looking to take their efforts to the next level and purchase or find a truck that can pull a brand new trailer they received with support from Fayetteville Roots Festival, Specialized Real Estate, and Whole Cities Foundation.
The request from Don Bennett, founder of Tri Cycle Farms:
"Isn't this an awesome trailer? Isn't she beautiful? I'm sure you've heard what the problem is though. No? Well... we don't have a truck capable of pulling over ton of food per week in this baby. Yep. You understand now. We're a cart before the horse organization. Here's what you can do to help right now and it's as simple as 1,2,3! Please share share share this sustainer campaign on your feeds. Please consider writing a testimonial of how Tri Cycle Farms has impacted you or someone you know. Then please please please become a monthly sustaining member today. Follow the Network For Good link and give safely, securely and simply. $5 (1 coffee/tip) or $10 (1 lunch/tip) or $25 (1 dinner/tip) Your membership will keep the gates open and food recovery rolling."
From a fellow Tri Cyclist:
"Hey you guys!!! Please consider helping my friend Don. You know anyone who has a truck to give? Every day he and several faithful volunteers pack their cars to the gills, with tons of leftover food from our local Whole Foods, then distribute it to those in need. Not only is this a laborious task, but it's quite tough on the vehicles too! A truck is meant for this line of work, and more so- it can pull the huge trailer that was donated to them! With the trailer, they can more than triple their efforts. The only thing holding them back is something to pull it with. So, if you know someone who can help, give me or Don a shout!" - Zac Trout
Become a sustainer here: http://bit.ly/2OlfX0M
Ranger's Pantry Pet Food Bank is a project of the Community Resources Division of the City of Fayetteville designed to keep struggling families and their pets together by providing pet food to qualifying applicants.
We are excited to share that the program surpassed a major milestone in the month of October—donating more than 150,000 pounds of pet food since their inception to help the homeless, as well as low- to moderate-income residents, provide for the pets they love.
Founded in 2010, Ranger's Pet Food Pantry has assisted more than 3,000 dogs, cats, and their families over the past 8 years.
To qualify for Ranger's Pantry, prospective applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Live within the Fayetteville City limits
- Fall within the low-to-moderate income guidelines (PDF) provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Prospective applicants must provide current identification and proof of Fayetteville residency for each application. Subsequent applications also require proof of spay/neuter for each pet. Applications must be filled out in the Community Resources office located in downtown Fayetteville.
If you would like to donate to Ranger's Pantry, individuals may drop off dog or cat food donations to the Community Resources Division office located at 125 W. Mountain St, or at any one of the City of Fayetteville Fire Stations. Monetary donations are also accepted, and 100% of proceeds are used in the purchase of food.
The mission of the Ozark Literacy Council is to improve lives by expanding and promoting literacy within the community.
Some times the best way to get to know an organization isn't by reading their mission statement, but by hearing directly from the individuals that work there, from those that receive their services, and from those that volunteer their time to support the organization. This is why we love the Ozark Literacy Council's series entitled "Humans of OLC". So without further ado, let's hear from some of the people themselves.
Board Member: Dr. “Bowtie” Todd Jenkins, Jr.
"[OLC] is a hidden jewel. A lot of people don't know about OLC and the impact that it has; other boards have a lot more visibility. It's very important to showcase our mission and the lives that we impact, because some of those lives get hidden. It's like a lot of untold stories. The community [here] is very welcoming: open arms, open hearts, and open minds. Because you never know who's going to walk into the door. I've always seen OLC be a community of love and a community of access. I describe it as a hidden jewel. I hope to lift it up, the beauty that's in this place and the lives that we impact. I thought I should highlight that hidden jewel, because it shouldn't be hidden."
Program Director: Mina Phebus
"We want to welcome everybody, whether they are interns, volunteers, or students. We just open the door, like, 'we don't know what your goal is, but we will help you.' A lot of students tell me that it goes beyond school; you can find friendship here, you can find a mentor, you can find different cultures. [One of our students] was a medical doctor in China; he cleans our building because he wants to give something back to our community. Sometimes volunteers come just to enjoy a coffee, because there are always students speaking all different languages, like music. People here are willing to share, willing to help, willing to understand. It's not only just one thing. That's what I want to continue to accomplish."
AmeriCorps Member: Jenna, OLC Teacher
"One thing I really love [about OLC] is that it's welcoming. The students enjoy it here. The staff is so welcoming; they always say hi; the students can stop in their offices and the staff will stop what they are doing to [greet them]. Even old students [stay in touch]. [Longtime teachers] will say, 'I had a student contact me from 8 years ago!' It's because they felt so welcomed here. And I feel the same way. I can also translate that to my students. When a new student comes in, they are like, 'Who are you? Where are you from?' It's like a family. That's a big plus about this place, and I think that's why we keep getting growth."
OLC Student: Xiaoming
"I've been at OLC almost one year. I practice and improve my English here. It's not an ordinary language school, it's like a big family. We learn and enjoy the atmosphere here. Every morning I am the first student to arrive at school. Teachers here are so nice and students are from different countries. I was a medical professor in China for more than 10 years but it was so exciting for me to sit in a classroom and study like a student again. I learned not just the language but also the history and culture, which help me to understand America differently. I still remember the first class I took here was Paul's class. He gave us a lesson about American pop music. I had heard some about American music but I didn't think that I liked it—too noisy. But Paul introduced the background and history of the music. When I learned that, American music meant something different to me than before. 'Ah! This music is very interesting! It also has a kind of history.
'y classmates are from all over the world. We use our different "Englishes" to talk to each other. It is an amazing feeling and experience. Now, other countries' names are not just a name, a word to me. They have vivid and diverse meanings. Two of our students are from Iran and Saudi Arabia. When they first came and met each other at OLC, one would say something and the other would challenge him because of their different cultures. But after studying together for a very long time, they became very close friends. I am often touched by such things and also have learned to care about world events. I think the most important thing I learned here is thinking for myself. I used to just listen to my teachers, my parents, and my bosses. I didn't care about, 'is it right? Is it correct?' But now I think for myself.
There are other students from China that study here at OLC who have more trouble with English than I. It's really difficult for them to live a normal life. When we had class, I would translate everything that the teacher said to them. Some wished to quit the class because they felt it was too difficult for them. Then, Mina [our program director] came to me with a suggestion: 'Can you teach them and help them?' I said that I could try. Eventually I had five students; I taught them and saw their progress. They would say, 'Today I learned which door is exit and which is entrance;' 'Yesterday I found the restroom myself.' If they don't know the signs, they don't know which restroom is for men and women, or even which door is pull or push. I think I can use my teaching experience to help people, which is very exciting. I never knew that volunteering in America was popular until I got here. I got a lot of help from others when I came here first and now I want to do something to help others. My husband encouraged me. He said, 'Perhaps you cannot be a physician, but you can do something good for society and for your community.' It makes me feel satisfied. You learn something, you give that to another student, and you hope to improve their life."
Arist's Laboratory Theatre: Community-centric, site-specific, handcrafted theatre of Northwest Arkansas.
This May, Artist's Laboratory Theatre premiered site-specific play SHELTER. The immersive experience explored community issues in South Fayetteville, and took place on Routes 1 and 2 of Ozark Regional Transit, stopping at several key locations throughout South Fayetteville. SHELTER highlighted several intersecting issues in South Fayetteville, including housing insecurity, public transit, and poverty.
SHELTER was a workshop production of The Good Person of South Fayetteville, a play in development by the nationally award-winning playwright Adrienne Dawes. This performance was a continuation of RIDE, another production of the Southside Civic Lab highlighting hyperlocal issues in South Fayetteville.
The Southside Civic Lab is a performance series and community effort to use theatre and other art interventions as tools of building awareness around community issues relevant to South Fayetteville. Fundamental to the community effort of the Southside Civic Lab is the network of Neighborhood Ambassadors who live in South Fayetteville. Their work, perspectives, and extensive research are crucial to this project.
This November, Artist's Laboratory Theatre will continue these conversations in partnership with the City of Fayetteville and National Endowment for the Arts at “Imagine South Fayetteville: Community-Led Arts, Culture, and Design".
This 3-day community convening will bring a team of national specialists from the fields of economic and community development along with artists, facilitators, and leaders in community-specific needs to address issues affecting the Southside neighborhood of Fayetteville. Racial and economic equity, creative placekeeping, and more will be highlighted at this convening.
To stay updated with Imagine South Fayetteville and upcoming events, subscribe to their mailing list at artlabtheatre.com.