Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Big Event of Service Here This Weekend, Our Fruit Tree Orchard Contest Needs You, Faith Gardens Schools Children Radical Health Good News

The Welcome Table Community News from A Third Place Community Foundation... Hi all. First, the good news. We have raised the $1,000 in special donations needed for a matching grant from a supporter in California. This will allow us to continue with our plumbing and bath repairs, which will make it easier for groups to come stay with us on mission trips to here, and get started on our roof repair. We are still putting resources into the community, as you will see below, instead of into our new community center and kitchengardenpark even, so it is great to get these extra gifts that we can put in to our new spaces for the community. If that made sense to you, then you have probably taken the "red pill" of missional community organizing. Speaking of which, I recommend to you a site I am a part of called But it is great to see the continuing benefits of the funds raised by many of you for our kitchengardenpark; not only will beds be going in there soon, but again that purchase allowed us the equity to purchase our own abandoned building in our own community and reclaim it as a place for community. Once again, as it was for the first time back in 1909, this little block and building that we now call The Welcome Table Community is again becoming a hub for those in our area of the 74126 zip. Second, remember our good news that we have been selected as a potential winner for an orchard to be planted in our area of northside by the National Fruit Tree Foundation; starting April 15 there will be online voting to see which five communities get an orchard per month until August. We want to win one right away so we don't have to keep urging people to vote all summer. You can vote everyday by bookmarking and then quickly clicking on Remember it starting April 15 and share with others. We are in an area with few people with internet access; which is why we offer our free computer center and wifi access; so we need the help of many others across the country and world to vote for us. Please pass on to media contacts too; sounds like a good story. Third, more good news. This weekend we are part of the University of Oklahoma Big Event and The Great American Clean Up. We are calling it here our Big Event of Service Weekend. It begins Tomorrow Friday from 2 to 7 pm we will be doing volunteer projects at our Center, 5920 N. Owasso, but even more we will be making some of our infamous forays up and down the major streets where our school children walk, filling up my truck, and maybe yours, with the tvs and trash and mattresses and all manner of waste dumped in our community. People know they can dump this just over the city limit line and there will be no prosecution, no zoning, and, I suppose, if they change their mind they can come get it months from now and it will still be there, until we do our Fall or Spring Trash Runs, especially now as the children in the warmer weather are venturing out along these roads. Free pizza supper for helpers. We also have our ongoing Community Art project redoing much of the front of our building into more welcoming, pleasing, artistic interactive space. It really kicks into high gear with Saturday's April 9 Community Garden Focus at Cherokee School, 6001 N. Peoria Ave., and at our Park Site 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. from 8 am to noon and beyond as people are available, working on the vegetable and flower gardens and trees and more that we have put into this school over the past five years making it into a premier outdoor classroom. Bonnie Ashing is taking a day tomorrow too and meeting with Cherokee students to teach them about gardening and healthy food and learning to grow their own and to help grow for others by helping with our school and community gardens. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the school for helpers. Then Sunday, April 10 from noon to 4 pm we will be finishing up with projects at our Welcome to Turley areas; if there is rainy weather we will work at the Center itself. All are welcome; all skill levels needed; come learn; bring tools if you have them; if you can support us by helping us provide food for the event you can make donations in person or at Why keep putting all this love into a school that has been slated for consideration of being closed? It is not just because of what we have done. Which you can see more about at our site. It is because as long as there are children in need, as long as there are hungry families, as long as there is blighted areas all around the school, as long as the spirit that built the school is alive, we can be no other place. And until they run us out of the building or off the grounds, we will be planting and we will be doing our daily free lunches for all under eighteen during the summer months when there is no other access to the free meals the families count on and use during the school year. We enjoyed both our discussions of the DVD documentaries A Powerful Voice on women networking for social justice around the world, and of Economy of Love on economic justice and faith by Shane Claiborne. We own both of these DVDs so they are available for lending and watching again if you missed them. We will be scheduling in a series of movie nights beginning soon. Many more events to follow as we open up in our new building, and outside of our new building. Our Sunday worships may begin being held in connection with our getting our hands dirty Sundays, so stay tuned or come prepared for anything to happen at 11 am or earlier now the days are warmer; singing, praying, communion, serving others, eating together; now that is church. We have been busy with meetings and plans and counter proposals and justice work seeking to keep Cherokee School open. You can read more at Follow the news there. We have good reasons why under any of the three plans Cherokee should remain one of the school sites open for various grade configurations in our area, both to help the students now, to help rebuild McLain High School, and to keep an important part of this endangered community alive. More proposals will be coming, and we have already achieved something by getting corrected and fuller data about the schools into the hands of the team making the decision of what to recommend to the school board. I do wish that rather than having all of our community anxiety, and anger directed unfairly at this stage at the school board, that energy could be directed and all of us showing up at the state legislature demanding they adequately fund common public education in our state; I hope the school board will decide that these past few weeks have been important wake up calls for community residents who have taken their schools for granted, and that TPS give Tulsans a year to organize massive rallies at the state capitol to get the funds needed to keep schools local, to build community, and to make important new configurations out of a sense of adventure and positive energy and not out of reaction and scarcity, as real as it has been due to the gutting of the public sphere by the party in power. If you are interested in any of our school projects, including the McLain Initiative we are a part of, come visit with us and see how you can help. We have also been working on the new revolutionary health care delivery concept for underserved areas, the Community Health Worker program we have been envisioning with OU and gaining partners throughout the state but also now with Tulane Medical Center. I will be travelling to OKC to do more presentations on it in the next few weeks; we are getting support by the state health care authority interested in its cost saving measures as we create "master patients" to mentor their neighbors who are showing up too often in the ER and urgent care, and as these trained "master patients" (my term, borrowing from master gardeners) also will be teaching the medical residents about the communities in which care is supposed to happen. This will put funds into the hands directly of residents in our neighborhoods instead of in the hands of clinic workers who come to work in our areas, or used to, but who don't live here and often don't have the cultural competencies needed to provide the best care; it will put the money into relationships where trust already exists, and increases health literacy by improving the communication processes; it puts money into the preventive side; it creates more community by increasing the relationships of neighbors to neighbors. It turns the clinic inside out and begins to see health not as a commodity transacted between autonomous persons with institutions, but as a truly inherent village or community concern. If you are interested in exploring this new concept I have written about often in the past few years, ever since we created it here as part of our partnership with OU back when its community health clinic was here, come visit us. Finally, we are still building our computer center; always need new computers; and we are getting ready to create again a selected clothing giveaway room so let us know if you have donations; and our food pantry is open again, and will be increasing in size even more soon; we may have free vouchers for residents to use at a mobile food pantry too; we can always use food donations. Soon we will be scheduling more events so if you would like to teach a class, lead a workshop, put on a program, etc. give us a call. blessings, Thanks, Ron

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