Open World Learning at Afton State Park
| 12.10

[IMAGE]Kristie Xiong and Johnny Yang setting up a tent at the Open World Learning Community overnight at Afton State Park. Fourteen secondary students accompanied physical education teacher Mark Scioli on the outing. “This was a first or second time experience for our urban learners. The purpose was to expose students to the value of being physically active in the outdoors. Students learned outdoor survival skills while enjoying hiking, orienteering, making fires using flint and rock, cooking, working together to set up and take down tents.” Learning targets included collaboration, perseverance, and stewardship.

Admission Possible Students Scare Up 9,330 Pound Donation for Foodshelf | 12.10

[IMAGE]Humboldt High students Maggie Bangert, Sandra Opokua, Aye Mi San and Hilda Owusua prepare to go out “trick-or-canning” for the Minnesota Foodshelf.

Students, staff and volunteers from seventeen Twin Cities high schools went “trick-or-canning” for nonperishable canned goods on the Halloween weekend. More than 850 students and staff covered thirteen metro neighborhoods to support Minnesota’s Emergency Foodshelf Network.Students from 17 Admission Possible partner high schools engaged in a friendly competition to see which high school group could collect the most donations to help those in their communities. They gathered 9,330 pounds of food and other donations.
Admission Possible makes community service a key component for students participating in the organization’s free after-school college preparatory programming for low-income students. By encouraging students to develop an ethic of service, Admission Possible helps them see their own potential for making a difference in their communities. Each student completes a minimum of sixteen hours of community service during the two-year program.

Admission Possible is a nonprofit organization founded in Minnesota in 2000 and dedicated to helping promising low-income high school students prepare for and earn admission to college by providing ACT/SAT test preparation, admissions and financial aid consulting and guidance in the transition to and through college.

West 7th Community Center is 2010 Hats & Mittens Beneficiary | 12.10[IMAGE]

In 1996, Rebecca Jorgenson Sundquist and some friends began to think of a service-oriented project into which they could invest their time and energy.

“Service to others takes you outside yourself, gives meaning to life, makes a difference for children and families and strengthens friendships.”

They wanted to have tangible goals and a service that would directly affect people’s lives. Thus, Hats & Mittens was born. A seemingly simple idea — to provide hats and mittens for children who needed them.

Today, Hats & Mittens provides over 30,000 sets of hats and mittens to between 40 and 50 Twin Cities organizations that distribute them to those with a need. In 2010 the goals is 50,000 sets. In addition, the organization raises funds for smaller and emerging nonprofits serving children, and all the proceeds of its annual Winter Ball are donated to one organization that has emerged as the most impressive of 20 to 25 applicants. In their 15 years so far, Hats & Mittens has distributed more than 350,000 hat and mitten sets and monetary funding of more than $250,000.

This year, Rebecca says, “The West 7th Community Center presentation as one of three finalists just blew us away! The professionalism of staff, the intergenerational services and the impact on the West 7th community, all were of the highest quality.”

The Winter Ball is December 30, 6 p.m., at The Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach. Live and silent auction and dinner, entertainment and dancing will be provided by Metro Jam. Tickets are $85 per person, plus a hat and mitten set. Call 952-935-5300 for details.

Circus Juventas Annual Gala | 12.10 [IMAGE]

Circus Juventas annual Gala on Nov. 5 follows a number of exciting journeys by members of the troupe. In October, 33 Circus Juventas students and staff traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee to perform selected acts from SAWDUST as part of the River Rocks Festival.

Later in October, members of the advanced-level triple trapeze act (Kate Cieslowski, Brigid Fitzgerald, Heather Snyder and Avery Young) appeared at the Circus Ring of Friendship Festival in Norrköping, Sweden. For the past five years Circus Juventas has become more involved on the international circus scene by submitting video of acts to amateur circus festivals in several foreign countries. Most recently, Circus Juventas performers competed in Latina, Italy from 2006 to 2008. “The circus arts are far more ingrained in many European and Asian cultures than here in the U.S. These festivals serve to link distant circus communities together and create a sense of competition and camaraderie,” co-founder and Executive Director Dan Butler said.

At the Gala, Circus Juventas students will provide an encore performance of selected acts from SAWDUST. Circus legends Tony Steele and Willie Edelston are joined by respected circus artist LaNorma Fox. Guests will enjoy a fabulous dinner with the opportunity to bid on live and silent auction items. Circus Juventas co-founders Dan and Betty Butler will announce the Bud Rooney Memorial Award to honor the longtime business leader who was an ardent supporter of Circus Juventas. Mr. Rooney passed away in April. His wife Kathy and family members will attend to accept this award.

All Gala proceeds benefit the Circus Juventas Scholarship Fund. For information call 651-699-8229.

About Circus Juventas. Circus Juventas, celebrating its 16th anniversary in 2010, is a nonprofit youth performing-arts circus based in St. Paul. Circus Juventas offers an array of circus arts training and performance opportunities to children and youth up to age 21. Its mission is to inspire artistry and self-confidence through a multicultural circus arts experience. Students learn acrobatics, balance, aerial techniques, juggling and theatrical skills in a safe and noncompetitive environment. The focus is on discipline, hard work, and mentor and peer relationships.

Maureen Davidson wins Shelly Joseph-Kordell Award | 12.10 [IMAGE]

On October 28, Maureen Davidson, Director of Senior Services at the West 7th Community Center, was awarded the Shelley Joseph-Kordell Award at the Senior Workers Fall Conference. Shelly Joseph-Kordell was a geriatric care manager who pioneered in the field of care management. Her life passion was advocacy and providing services for seniors.  This award recognizes outstanding individuals who assist seniors and have had a positive impact on their quality of life. Maureen has been working at the Center for 18 years and has touched countless lives of community seniors.

She co-founded the Senior Partnership for Integrated Care for Elders, developed the West 7th Block Nurse Program, led the successful merger of the West 7th and West Side’s Meals on Wheels programs, started Monthly Wellness Clinics at three local senior apartment buildings, and founded the center’s new Homemaking Program, which now provides chore service to more than 70 clients.

She serves as the board chair of Ramsey County Meals on Wheels Consortium and on the Adult Services Committee of Ramsey County. Maureen has also been active in the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities Initiative (NORC). This initiative’s goal is to create a community where elders can live for a lifetime. If you see Maureen at the center, congratulate her!

Parks and Recreation System Plan | 12.10

[IMAGE]We are in a time of economic, environmental, and demographic change that require St. Paul Parks and Recreation to change as well. It is becoming increasingly difficult to pay for the facilities we have, and many of these facilities do not meet the needs of current park users. Either the system can change in an incremental, piecemeal way, or the Parks and Recreation Department can plan the whole system for the future. The Department has chosen to plan to better meet the needs of the whole city for decades to come.

Public Viewing of Draft - Community Open House
A draft of the System Plan will be brought to the community in November. Residents will have an opportunity to see the results of work that was done following the community meetings and comprehensive analysis that was completed over the spring/summer months. Anyone may attend any of the five planned community meetings. Attendees will be able to share comments about what they think of the plan, and following the completion of all the meetings, the plan may be tweaked prior to a final draft being presented at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on December 8 and to City Council in January 2011.

All open houses run from 7 to 9 p.m. The dates and locations for the open houses are:
  • November 3: Hillcrest Recreation Center, 1978 Ford Parkway.
  • November 8: Phalen Recreation Center, 1000 East Wheelock Parkway.
  • November 9: Wellstone Community Center/El Rio Vista Recreation Center, 179 Robie Street East.
  • November 15: Oxford Community Center/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, 270 Lexington Parkway North.
  • November 18: North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 St. Albans Street North.
The content will be the same at each of the meetings, so community members can attend the open house that best meets their schedule and location.

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