Progress Updates – November 2012

Healthy Living Progress Update


  As you may have already heard, our annual event, Party for the People, was a great success. Approximately 130 people came out from all over Asheville to celebrate community, share each other’s company, and enjoy live entertainment from the Urban Arts Institute (UAI), La’Ney African Dance Troupe, and the Secret B-Sides. The UAI dancers led by Michael Hayes were amazing, and despite some technical difficulties with the sound system they finished each song in perfect synchronicity, sometimes without any music at all! The high energy La’Ney African Dance Troupe led by Nadirah Rahman featured incredible African drumming led by Adama Dembele. At the end of the dancers’ performances Nadirah invited the audience to dance as well, and the dance floor filled with happy party-goers, dancing and clapping to the rhythms of the drums.


There was lots of delicious local food from Green Opportunities’ Kitchen Ready Program and other vendors, and an awards ceremony in which top participants from WWD-F’s Healthy Living Program were honored along with the year’s top collaborators, volunteers, and the Hillcrest Resident Association for their active community leadership over the past year. The party also featured door prizes, raffle prizes, and childcare. A big thank you goes out to all of the volunteers and local businesses and organizations whose contributions of time, items, and funding made the celebration possibleCheck out photos from the event on our facebook page!


  Coming up on Saturday the 8th of December from 1:30-3:30 we will be hosting a Winter Clothing Swap at Hillcrest’s apartment 17A!  This will be an opportunity for people to bring in their family’s gently-used outgrown winter clothing items and swap them out for new gently-used cold weather clothes!  We are currently accepting donations of hats, gloves, boots, scarves, coats, sweaters, and pants to supplement this clothing swap, and we invite anyone who would like volunteer for this activity to meet us at 17A at 1pm on the 8th to assist with set up.                                                                         

  On Friday December 14th from 4-6pm we will be hosting a Holiday Toy Swap and Card-Making Party at apartment 17A in Hillcrest!  We are gathering toys, and invite the residents of Hillcrest and other public housing communities to come out, bring the toys your child has outgrown, and swap them out for new gently-used toys!  We will have cleaning and gift wrapping stations set up, along with refreshments, and a separate supervised area upstairs for children to create holiday cards for their friends and family while adults choose and wrap presents downstairs!  We are looking for any and all gently used (and clean and functional) toys to supplement the items available at this toy swap, and are also looking for 5 volunteers to assist with set-up, toy cleaning, wrapping, card-making, and clean-up.  All toy donations can be dropped off at the office on Ravenscroft prior to December 14th, and anyone interested in volunteering should call our office at the number listed below.  Thanks!!!


  The Ujamaa Freedom Market cooperative is moving right along!  Worker-owners, Olufemi Lewis and Ayanfe Free, have been working hard to develop the recruitment process necessary to attract and retain two additional worker-owners in order to complete the research and planning phase and launch the mobile market in the early summer of 2013!  We have held information sessions already in which prospective applicants can learn about cooperatives, and about the market, and can apply to be considered as a worker-owner.  There are two more info-sessions coming up next week on Tuesday the 4th from 2-3:30pm at DSS on Coxe Avenue, and on Friday the 7th from 12:30-2pm.  Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to attend one of these sessions, and the two final worker-owners will be chosen and notified in January.  This is very exciting, and we again thank Z-Smith Reynolds Foundation for providing funding for monthly stipends for the worker-owners during the planning phase, as well as training expenses at Mountain Biz Works for all four worker-owners!  We are currently seeking donations for start-up costs for the market, and also looking to procure a bus or van which will be retrofitted to serve as the mobile market vehicle.  Also, check out the article about Ujamaa Freedom Market in the December issue of Verve magazine! 


  Our Blissful Gardens educational community agriculture project in Marshall has recently completed a well-constructed hoop-house with seedling tables, plastic water drums, and a nearby water spigot. We also have installed a new hydroponic system which will be up and running as soon as the electricity is connected!  We have acquired a tractor which was donated by Dr. Michael Hills of South Carolina and a used riding mower.  This year we have planted and harvested smaller amounts of a wide variety of vegetables and berries. Produce from the gardens has been donated to the residents of Hillcrest, and has also been used for cooking classes in the community.  Winter volunteer opportunities currently include helping to prepare layered garden beds for spring, clearing deep brush at the main gate entrance, cut fence posts, dig fence post holes and build benches from fallen trees. A carpenter is needed to repair the composting toilet building, and ongoing field and garden maintenance.


☺  Additional Volunteer Requests: 


            The Hillcrest Community Resource Center is quickly gaining momentum, and assisting new residents with connections to resources and employment each week!  We are in need of volunteers to assist with transporting residents to Job Link at Ab-Tech in the mornings, Monday through Thursday, and with continuing to organize the supplies and books which make up our emergency pantry and lending library!  Please contact Resource Specialist, Traci Thompson, at 678-334-8126 if you are interested in helping out with the Resource Center.


            *  Additionally, WWD-F is looking for volunteer administrative assistance in the areas of data-entry, systems maintenance, and donation solicitation.  Anyone interested in assisting in these areas should contact the office at the number listed below.