These Weeds of Ours

Weeds are such personal plants.
They seem like intruders,
Breaking into our beds
And stealing the sun and soil,
Strangling and starving their more noble neighbors.
So we pluck them when we can.

We weep as we watch them pile up,
A day by day decay
Of fetid filth,
Filling up the secret corners of our lives.

And yet, over years,
They start to fall apart,
Turning over gently
In the heat of our hearts.

Then, slowly,
A soft sweet loam
Forms the fertile folds
That feed the seeds
Of fruits and flowers.
These weeds of ours.

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Robert’s Story: The Breakfast Club

Robert & Mike at Corner Bloc Coffee catching up

Robert & Mike at Corner Bloc Coffee catching up

It’s a cool March morning while Robert and I wait for an old friend of his to arrive.  We’ve set up a coffee date to try to finally get the two of them together.  Mike walks in, wearing a sweater and flip-flops, the typical Cincinnati uniform when the weather starts to turn a bit warmer.  He immediately hugs Robert, and plops down on the couch at Corner Bloc Coffee.  “I met Robert when he was working at Moeller High School over a decade ago.  We became fast friends.”  Mike says.  This coffee date was planned to have a conversation about how to prioritize their friendship in each others’ lives.  Out of the discussion, the idea of the “Breakfast Club” was born.  From the outside looking in, you would not know that Mike and Robert haven’t seen each other in a few months, a busy work schedule and a lack of reliable transportation always getting in the way, respectively.

The Breakfast Club (which launched in April) is an every-other-month speaker series where Cincinnatians are invited to share personal stories about whatever they are passionate about.  Citizens are invited to attend, ask question, talk candidly and start their Monday morning off without agendas or emails.  The idea is that people can be casual, grab a coffee and breakfast, and listen to someone talk about what’s important to them.

Mike explains why he was on board to start the Breakfast Club with Robert: “I feel as if Breakfast Club is an amazing way for Robert to connect with his community – but also an amazing way for everyone who attends to connect with one another. Robert is a catalyst for relationship-building. Always has been, always will be.”

Vice Mayor David Mann & Robert at the first Breakfast Club

Vice Mayor David Mann & Robert at the first Breakfast Club

In April, Mike and Robert hosted the first gathering and the first guest was Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann.  A crowd of about 12 or so people arrived, coffee and muffin in hand.  The Vice Mayor talked about his fifty years of marriage with his wife, his children and “God tapping him on the shoulder” when it came to same-sex couples’ rights, and why he’s stayed in public service for so long. “Politics is the art of what’s possible” he says, smiling.

“I like hanging out with Mike because he makes me proud to have a friend like him” Robert says after the first breakfast club has ended and the date has been set for June’s gathering.

Friendship, we know, is also the art of what’s possible.
Join the next Breakfast Club on Monday, June 29th.  Free tickets available here.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club

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On Presence and Imperfections

By the time I leave work on a Thursday I can expect a few missed calls, usually accompanied by voicemails left by my friend Ashley.  She disguises her voice and does funny accents, always with the same message, “This is your cat lady, Ashley, just wanna see if you’re coming tonight, soooo…give me a ring back!” Over the last two years, with these weekly calls, Ashley has been one of the most reliable people in my life.

Ashley and I met through Starfire.  I was still new to this world of community and inclusion, and Ashley was embarking on planning her collaboration project, a party to benefit local cat rescue groups.  As someone who liked cats, I joined her committee, and quickly went from being someone who liked both cats and Ashley to someone who loved both cats and Ashley.  During the planning process, we toured a local cat shelter and even though it was just a couple hours out of weeks of work, we both remembered it all year.  When the project drew to a close, Ashley asked if I remembered that shelter and if we could go back again, and thanks to her suggestion, two weeks later we were attending our volunteer orientation and picking out a weekly shift.

IMG_3367I have to admit, it wasn’t without some trepidation that I started volunteering with Ashley.  I’ve heard people use lots of words to describe Ashley: party animal, hilarious, thoughtful, sweet.  All qualities that make her an amazing friend, but not quite encompassing the same qualities you might say describe a good volunteer: hard-working, full of initiative, focused.  I was nervous as we went into our first shift, and it didn’t take long to see that Ashley and I weren’t going to fit any more perfectly into the volunteer mold than I expected us to.  She didn’t want to scoop cat litter,  and she would open doors to rooms and cats would run past her and escape into the common area. While other people zipped around with food and cats and brooms, she would sit down, and talk to cats, or quietly sit in a room and look at them. I cringed at every thing I thought was a mistake, worried that we wouldn’t fit in, or look like slackers. After a few weeks of worry, though, I realized the other volunteers barely took notice of things that seemed like big red flags to me.  Instead of everyone else judging us for the things I knew we weren’t very good at, they were really just happy to have us there to help at all.

Over time Ashley and I settled into our roles.  As we became regulars and I eased up a bit, we found things we were good at doing. We made friends with other volunteers, and started to feel really connected there.  We passed our 6 month mark, our one year mark, our two year mark, and all the while, even though all signs pointed to us being included there, a nagging part of my mind still focused on the imperfections.  Ashley’s job every week has been to change out the water dishes in the rooms, and she often leaves little drips and puddles on the floor that can get pretty slippery.  Nobody’s ever complained, or really even brought up it was her spilling, but every week I would see our imperfection in those drips and think “If I can get Ashley to keep from spilling, we’ll be able to be real volunteers here.”  On the way home, I’d agonize over the balance between meaningful self-improvement and impossible standards.  I’d rationally think that everyone makes mistakes, and we’re entitled to a few here and there, and I should just focus on the fact that we’re there and we’re contributing.  The next week we’d get to our shift and my emotional thinking would take over, and a voice in my mind would tell me we were imperfect and that was a big deal, and I would look for evidence to confirm my fears and I would question if we were really good enough to be there.

IMG_2284After a couple years of volunteering, never once having been to the shelter without Ashley, one night I found out she would be unable to make it.  I decided to go without her, even though we had pretty much been a packaged deal up until that point.  About halfway through the shift, another volunteer walked past me and mentioned how much it helps to have Ashley do the water every week, and how much time that one extra task can take up when she’s not there to do it.  And with that one simple comment, all my fears about Ashley’s imperfections went away, and I suddenly believed everything I had known up until that point.  Ashley has a disability.  She is not perfect.  She spills water, she lets cats out of their rooms, she refuses to scoop litter boxes.  And nobody really cares, because she is present and she is contributing and we love her.

While nothing on the surface changed that night, my perception of Ashley changed, and that made a huge change in our relationship.  Instead of seeing her imperfections as flaws that made us stand out, I saw them just as imperfect parts of a whole, real person. I freed myself up from fearfully trying to predict why people might not like her, and just focused on loving her for who she is.

Back in September, Heather, a fellow volunteer on our shift, was preparing to move out of state.  We had talked for weeks about her leaving, and how much we would miss her on our shift and around the shelter.  I checked my email one day and saw a thread of emails from the other women on our shift, which started with the following message from Heather:

I got the sweetest message through Facebook from Ashley. It took me a minute to figure out who it was because it came in under a different name. I almost cried when I figured out it was her.

Here it is –

i will miss you you will be missed very much thanks for helping out this is your cat lady ashley have a great week see you thursday

The next several emails were all about Ashley, how sweet she is, how to friend her on Facebook, and how she was part of a master plan to get Heather to stay.  It was so small, and felt so significant.  For years, in my mind, I had been fighting against Ashley’s “problems” to get people to like her, and nobody knew it but me. And nobody needed it but me.

FullSizeRender

I have always been someone who has let my fears get in the way of things.  When you’re afraid someone you love will fail, or look bad in front of friends, it can be so easy to fall into the well-meaning trap of wanting to fix them. And once you start to see that as your responsibility, it can be really hard to figure out how much fixing they need before they’re done. My relationship with Ashley has made me realize how easy it can be to let your fears get in the way not just of yourself, but in the way of someone else, too. Ashley never needed me to fix her. She was fine all along. I thought I needed to fix Ashley to quiet that nagging, fearful voice we have when we love someone with a disability. The voice tells us, “Society won’t want this person until they’re done being fixed.  They won’t belong until they’re perfect.” It’s a voice that’s quiet, and pervasive, and argumentative, and convincing. And once you stop listening to it, you realize it’s really, really, really dumb.

Over the last couple years, I’ve wondered if we were capable enough, if we were dedicated enough, if we were making too many mistakes, if people really wanted us there.  We’ve made plenty of mistakes.  So has everyone else.  And nobody has been fired or asked to leave. Because we all know that nobody’s perfect.

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Zak’s Story – A Year’s Work

Zak’s employment story begins with his mother. It’s the part that tries to go unseen, wants no recognition, but works day and night around the clock to build a life, against all odds and doubts, for her son.

With a national unemployment rate of 83% for people with developmental disabilities, people such as Zak have a challenge that goes beyond your basic job hunt. It requires a ton of working parts, each in symbiosis with the other. It takes big thinking, creativity, and resilience. In Zak’s case, it takes a mother.

“I knew I would have to be the one to advocate for him from the time he was born,” she said. “No one else was going to do it for me.”

For months, Zak and his mom sought out job openings, looking for the right fit. He would fill out every application as she guided him through the questions and they would make inquiries to potential employers. Then, when they found the right fit, she put the rest in order, securing the interview, contacting Starfire to put job supports in place, and setting up transportation to make sure Zak could get to and from work.

The result was Zak starting his job last August, where he works three days a week at the Dunham Recreation Center, close by where he lives. There he works in tandem with Tom, the main maintenance staff, and together they make sure the facility is in good working order.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 5.23.19 PM“It’s a win-win. What we get is a good solid worker, and he fills the gaps where we need it. He takes certain things off the main maintenance guy’s plate, which takes some of the strain off,” said Jim, Zak’s employer. “Zak has jumped right in. He’s important. We feel he’s important.”

When Zak started his job, Andrew, a staff from Starfire was there to train him. He showed him how to flow through each task, encouraged him to keep working to the end of his shift, and provided a balance for the employer starting off. Gradually he eased himself out of the role, and Zak took the reigns. But one piece to this training that Starfire does uniquely is building relationships with co-workers. He helped make sure Zak invited each of them to his birthday party, and in turn his co-workers have reciprocated invitations.

Almost a year later, Zak says he loves his job. This of course is a really important piece to employment.

“They gave me my paycheck, I opened it up, and I had a grin on my face,” he said about getting his first paycheck. “It’s a neat place to work. It’s changed my life.”

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Roots

Long after the brackets closed, the fans cleared, the games ended, and the bar closed down at the Final Four FlyAway, lingering in Burke Neville’s mind was Starfire’s mission. That was 16 years ago, when the FlyAway was in its first year.

“After that Starfire became a huge part of our life,” said Burke, a Terrace Park resident. He and his wife Kelli chaired the FlyAway for several years, and eventually Burke was appointed Starfire’s Board President. At that time Starfire was focused on community supports to ease people with disabilities’ access to social activities.

“The outings were great. But when you got back to Starfire you got out of the van and that was it. It ended there,” Burke explained.

Then in 2010, Starfire began to transition toward its most innovative work. “Parents were asking us, ‘What’s going to happen to my son or daughter after I’m gone?’” Burke said.

That’s when he attended his neighbor, and Starfire member, Robbie’s PATH at his house (a PATH helps set a plan for the future that is supported by friends and family). Robbie is known around his neighborhood for being a prankster who loves to make people laugh.
“If you spend a day on your bike with Robbie, he will take you around to all the scenic parts of his neighborhood,” said Evan, Starfire staff. “And without fail, everyone you pass will wave to him.”

Robbie, Lucy, BurkeRobbie, Lucy, Burke

His PATH meeting was one of the most well-attended in Starfire’s history. Robbie invited the mailman, the local police officer, neighborhood garage mechanic, local Boy Scout troop leader, and tons of neighbors such as Burke. Likely due to his charisma and popularity, all of them came.

“I was blown away by how involved people are in the neighborhood,” Burke said. “It became clear to me that everyone in Terrace Park knows Robbie and cares about him.”
Since then Burke and Robbie have formed a deeper friendship together.
“I like to talk to Burke,” said Robbie. “We always bike ride together on the trail and I hang out at his house.”

“Before, it was easy for volunteers to just sign up for an outing,” Burke said. “Versus now we ask people to continue to engage and build relationships. When I spend time with Robbie, the memory doesn’t die. Which is really what it’s all about.”
Sharing Starfire’s message of inclusion with their kids became vital to the Neville family. They would read the story of Waddie Welcome to help their children understand the importance of including people.

A year ago, his son Jack joined a Circle of Friends club at Mariemont school to build a network of friends around his classmate Luke. They began by having lunch together once a month.

“It’s not just our small group of friends now, a lot of people are joining and being nice around Luke,” said Jack, a 7th grader who was recently asked to lead the group.

Before Luke was getting left out of invitations to birthday parties and get togethers. Now the group makes plans outside of school to get together, and last month Luke had friends at his birthday party to celebrate it with him.

“Luke really seems to enjoy the kids in his Circle of Friends,” Melissa Gaskey, Luke’s mom said. “With the ever-widening gap between Luke’s abilities and understanding of the world and that of his peers, we’re touched and encouraged by how other kids show support and friendship.”

Certainly, Jack’s passion to lead and get involved in bridging the inclusion gap did not come without the strong example set before him.

“It has to start with one person and one neighborhood,” Burke said. “And that’s what we’re going to do.”

 

 

Note:  This story was updated 4/14 to make the correction that Jack did not start the Circle of Friends group, but joined the group and was asked to lead it this year.

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Brooms to B-Ball (not your typical Cinderella story)

There’s a certain thirst inside someone who loves basketball as much as Desiree. It’s always there, waiting to be quenched. Patiently walking the court while pushing a broom in front of her, Des volunteers at her neighborhood recreation center by tidying up the space once a week. Collecting the dust beneath her broom, she glances at the hoops occasionally. Careful about her work, it’s clear Des holds the space in high regard but she won’t be satisfied until she’s on the court, ball in hand instead of broom handle.

Des started playing basketball when she was young. It is one of the things that she feels really good at, “I love basketball. I’ve been playing for a while,” she says. “I’m actually pretty good at it. If you take a look at me, for real.”
The sound of the basketball dribbling on the court marks the end of her volunteer shift. Weaving the ball between her legs and sinking layups at a steady pace, a thundering rhythm fills the court.

“My brothers played with me when I was a kid,” she says in between baskets. “My older brother Timothy used to teach me some pointers.”
Today, Des plays alone. But in a few months, she imagines a whole court filled with other players. Des’ next plan is to start a pick-up game with other women at the rec center. She is working with Ben, a staff at Starfire, to make this a reality.

“Right now people might think of us just as the custodians helping out,” Ben said, “But hopefully once they see us out playing and they see other people playing with us, they’ll start to be interested in building a relationship with us. And with you, specifically, Des.”

We know that building a social network for Des cannot be rushed – or created. If we try, there’s a real risk that she is only known for her disability, and that others see her as someone they “volunteer” for instead of as a mutual friend. That’s why Des’ friendships must start with what is important to her, and what’s important to the people she’s connecting with. For her, that looks like many nights playing basketball with other women, getting to know each other on and off the court, growing to love each other through a mutual affinity and respect. We know that this takes time. Luckily, what Des does have is just that.

Are you interested in playing basketball with Des? Contact Ben Lehman at Ben@starfirecouncil.org to find out how you can get connected.

And if you’d like to come to the hottest March Madness event of the year, check out Starfire’s Final Four FlyAway!

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#LearnFromLocals — Urban Homesteading

Candice was right. Even up until the moment the seats were filled, plates adorned with Madisonville’s very own BBQ, and presentations began, nothing about this night was perfect. But we managed to start  – something – and that’s what mattered.

Here are the presentations from that night, each a variation on the theme of urban homesteading. Enjoy!

Starting Seeds

Vermi-Aquaponics

Urban Homestead – Oasis!

Okay– So you want more?

Why stop now!?!

Next Learning Lab Topic: BREWERS + FOODIES
Friday, March 20th, 2015 6:30 PM at 5030 Oaklawn Drive, 45227 

Hosted by Douglas VanDerlinen from Eli’s BBQ and foodie Ben Lehman…

Hear about local’s experiences with homebrewing and food business start-ups. There will be 6 short presentations! See some great pictures and ask questions from people who have figured some things out…
Instructors:
ELIAS LEISRING / ELI’S BBQ
BRADY DUNCAN / MADTREE BREWING COMPANY
KAREN ZANGER / VANISHING GRANOLA
KRISTEN ST. CLAIR / CREATING NEIGHBORHOOD FOOD HUBS
COLIN RYAN / BLANK SLATE BREWERY
JON SINCLAIR / HOME BREWING

Ron D’s will be there again with his famous BBQ! (so bring your dollar bills!)

Check out Price Hill and Madisonville Learning Labs on Facebook

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What’s bigger than the love of the game?

On the corner of 8th and Broadway, Mike Holmes waits for the crosswalk to change to “walk.” He is taking a break from work at the downtown architecture firm GBBN to meet with a few people for lunch. Mike started working at GBBN in November 2011, when he was hired to work as an assistant office manager. There he sets up conference rooms for meetings, sorts and delivers mail, and keeps the office looking spotless among other duties.

As crosses the street and gets into the car, he is greeted by Tim Vogt, a long time friend who is working with Mike to help him make friends so that he’s better connected socially. On the way to lunch they banter back and forth about the time Tim almost got a speeding ticket on the way up to Cleveland. The conversation is familiar and easy going, a testament to their friendship.

When they arrive, Shana, Alyson, and John are waiting, all supporters of the AAU girls basketball team, “Cincy Swish,” that Mike has been assistant coach for the last 5 years. Mike also coaches at Mariemont High School, and between the two basketball teams this sport takes up much of his free time outside of work. That’s just how he prefers it.

Today, Mike and his committee are planning an awards banquet for the players. The idea will be to honor players who have impacted the community in some way, and was brought on by Mike’s desire to give back to the girls he has been coaching.

The group goes back and forth, brainstorming which venue would be the best fit, how many trophies should be bought, and all other logistics to be considered over the next few months before the event. There will be much work needed to be put in on the front end to make the night a success.

And that’s what makes this project important. Not the number of awards, the categories of winners, or the number of people who show up on the night. While all of those things are important, what matters most is the effort each person on the project planning committee are putting in to making it a success. The monthly meetings, the collaborative spirit, the feeling of shared accomplishment at the end is what brings people together. It’s what will bond Mike to a group of people on a new level, one that doesn’t bring his Down syndrome into the spotlight or make his disability the headline of the night.

For someone who is typically left out of ordinary social activities because of his disability, it’s those stronger bonds to people who share his love of basketball that make this event matter most.

So, for the next several months, Tim and Mike have months of meetings planned with other people who they hope to engage in the effort. This is partly to make sure the event is a success, and partly to widen Mike’s social circle. As they close the meeting, John asks, “How does all of this sound to you so far Mike?” “Good.” he replies with a smile, packing his briefcase on his way back to work.

starfire cincinnati community projects

Mike, John, Alyson, Shana, and Tim

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Mindfulness

To be honest, I’m balancing a 24lb child on my lap, sitting on a bar stool at my breakfast nook.  There are boxes half full and boxes completely empty strewn about my house.  We’re packing up our belongings, selling our house, and all around us is the feeling of uncertainty and chaos.  A wine glass sits empty, beckoning a refill.  I’m waiting on a pizza to be delivered at 8:30PM, though we’ve cut dining out out of our budget until we find our next home.  The dishes in the sink will sit there, at least for another day, probably more, if I am being honest.

The 24lb girl is asleep, but if I move her, she won’t be.  And so begins the balancing act.  One arm firmly pressed against the rising of breathing chest keeping her from falling, and two hands hovering over her at the keyboard, I write.

On Wednesdays, M (almost nine months) attends with me.  It’s a luxury and a difficulty wrapped into one and I thank my coworkers on behalf of working moms everywhere for their acceptance of her at “staff meetings.”  At 7:45AM we head out the door with diaper bag, purse, lunch, toys to keep her as occupied as I try to answer a few days worth of overdue emails, my planner, a laptop, and whatever else I can manage carry in my arms to make our time in the office moderately successful.

The past few Wednesday we’ve been participating in Otto Scharmer’s online course on Theory U.  Part of the course includes reminders and practice in mindfulness.

Mindfulness last year with John Orr was a practice. A practice in this-is-what-mindfulness-is-like.  Being quiet, stopping negative thoughts, centering oneself.  Last year, it was a silent building with people sitting quietly, perfectly placed in their chairs, eyes closed, feet planted on the floor.  Occasionally, someone would whisper about a ride arriving, or a meeting taking place, and they’d slip back out of the room tiptoeing.  The silence would overwhelm us, and make us sleepy after a long, hard day of talking.  It felt good last year, to sit still, to try not to doze off at 4PM, and try not to judge the thoughts in one’s head.

As we sat in the board room two Wednesdays ago M began screeching.  A babababdaada chatter of nonsense and of import demanding me to listen.  She bites my shirt, indicating her insistence on nursing.  She lunges backwards, then sits up, looks up and smiles.  In the room, twenty or so people practice mindfulness, quietly sitting with eyes closed, hands sitting on their laps, motionless.  My hands are moving all the while.  My knees bouncing, my chair rolling from one spot to the next.  I place my hand on her tiny back to keep her from moving.  She coos with the attention I’ve given her and the starts to pout “hmmm” “hmmm” the noise a prelude to actually crying.  I am running out of time, occupying her and entertaining her and know that we need to leave the silent room of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is an active awareness of what’s happening around you.  It isn’t, not actually, the sitting quietly and tuning out.  Walking out of the room, with my girl in my arms, we head to my desk.  She climbs into my lap, settles down and I type while she nods off.  In the other room twenty or so people continue to sit silently.  I continue my practice, too.  Being aware that this situation is what it is.  This is life and this is life while working with a nine month old in arm.

The past two Wednesday’s, I’ve walked back and forth from my seat to assorted spaces on the floor where she crawls, always, towards electrical cords and cups filled with hot coffee.  We’ve taken breaks at my desk and returned trying to catch up on what I’ve missed.  I listen to Otto talk about what our past selves would think, and I smile inwardly.  My past self would have thought mindfulness to be hippie shit.  The type of practice one might have done if one didn’t have something better to do.  I know now, my past self was ignorant, and that mindfulness is most needed during the times of chaos,  not in times of silence.

The moments when I most need to be mindful are not when the building is quiet and we’re all sitting still.  It is not in moment of “practice” when it is most helpful, but in moments of action.  I most need to be mindful when I am being bitten, when I am balancing a sleeping child on my lap while paying bills and answering emails and writing and drinking wine and waiting hungrily for pizza in a house filled with boxes.  I most need to be mindful when I am arguing with myself in my head, or arguing with my husband out loud.  Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, and not judging it as awful or wonderful, and most helpfully as John told us, not believing everything you think to be true.  I need it not in moments of silence and eyes closed sitting comfortably, but in times when I am made uncomfortable, when things are loud, when the house and life is messy and when my feet are unsteady and my heart unsure, and when she-won’t-just-hold-still-for-one-second.

M

M

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Madisonville Learning Lab

Here’s a good story about community that isn’t always told in press releases or glossy photos or ribbon cutting ceremonies.  It’s a story of back and forth email streams, phone calls and meetings, questions about insurance and liability, lists of rules about who’s in charge of the unaccompanied kids that might show up, invoices and fee schedules and permits and questions of who’s going to pay for the gas and electric that night, conflicting calendar dates, a location not being “safe” enough for community to attend there, criticized flyers and font selection and how beautifully frustrating a community can be.

And yet…

This month Madisonville Learning Lab launches on Friday, January 23rd and featured five different guests around the theme of the urban homestead.  Steve Rock an environmentalist and garden builder in Madisonville will be present hosting the event with us along with Stu Zanger who will be teaching about starting seeds, Amy Francis discussing how to raise backyard chicken and ducks, Steve Kapuchinsi leading about aquaponics and how he raises fish and veggies in the garage and the Friemoth Family will talk about how they’ve made their Pleasant Ridge home the homestead next door with plants, water, and energy.

It's Happening!  January 23rd, 2015

It’s Happening! January 23rd, 2015

The event will be imperfect and wonderful.  Originally, in August, Katie and I worked to host a Learning Lab in early Fall at a school building’s theater–well mostly Katie did.  She met with the school administrators, explained the event, encouraged it to be promoted in their school newsletter to parents, and yet… Those details could never be nailed down so we blessed and released, promised to keep them in the loop and scouted our next location.

Our next location, we also couldn’t quite make work.  Having a storied history of opened/now closed, and run by two sweet volunteers doing their best, we met with them in September and couldn’t make it work there either.  The third option was the basement of the library but the Madisonville library basement is not accessible and from a aesthetic feel, it didn’t exactly feel inviting.

Finally, we gave up the desire for a “perfect” community space, and are hosting it at Starfire.  Starfire is located in Madisonville, and we both conveniently work there as well as live in Madisonville.

There is much to be said about the “art of hosting” and how the setting of a table matters as much as the content of a gathering, but sometimes you have to start by just having a table.  We decided that just doing it, hosting the event, getting some momentum and bringing people together was much more important for community building than continuing to push back a launch date in search of a perfect community space and details that would please everyone for which to build community.So won’t you join us for our first event?

URBAN HOMESTEADING
Friday, January 23rd, 2015 6:30 PM at 5030 Oaklawn Drive, 45227.

In addition to the Learning Lab, Katie invited a local restaurateur, Ron D’s, to set up his BBQ to be available for purchase at the event, giving neighbors another opportunity support a local business.

While Learning Lab’s are now rooted in one specific community (Price Hill, Madisonville) it is still open to anyone to attend and to learn for free!

Questions?  Shoot me an email at candice@starfirecouncil.org
or, just show up and enjoy the evening.

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