A neighborhood bustling with music and smells of great food from East African and Latino cooking, city buses transporting people to their destinations, and sounds of conversations of around the urban garden with the smells from the food truck on a Wednesday afternoon. My memories of Lake St and the corners that Urban Ventures supports in South Minneapolis line a piece of my heart.
I grew up just a mile away from Urban Ventures and spent much of my life hanging in the neighbor because of family and friends who lived just blocks away. About seven years ago, fully busting pregnant with my second daughter, I was asked if I would be interested in volunteering as a member of the board of directors supporting Urban Ventures – interested, no — HONORED! The community has become a second family to me and that is exactly what they do for the community that they serve.
On today’s episode of Thrive For[e]ward I get the joy of sitting “down” or you know virtually connecting with my friend and Vice President of Youth and Career Development for Urban Ventures. His role and that of Urban Ventures has been critical and honestly life-saving for their neighborhood in 2020. You see the memories of joy I remember as a kid and even an adult in the neighborhood were powered by the people, what I didn’t share with you is the struggles of generational poverty, minimum wage jobs, and the food desert that are the corners of the Philips Neighborhood in South Minneapolis.
Now you take the effects of an already hurting community economically and we enter March 13th, 2020 when the COVID-19 virus hit Minnesota and the first economic shutdown impacted so many, and harder those that were already clinging to keeping it together. Urban Ventures started, like many, shift to serving their community online, providing resources, and partnering with local restaurants to provide warm meals and giving bags filled with fresh produce from our community garden.
Then the devastation continued as the community was impacted further by the wealth of George Floyd just a half a mile from where the doors of UV open to serve their community. The fires, riots, and images depicted on the news were not the day-to-day pictures that describe the feelings of the community. Emotions of defeat yet the heart to hold on and know their worth was what came through the hallways of UV. They turned their eight court gymnasium into an emergency food bank, spending hours every day to pack bags of food to distribute within just minutes they were gone. The needs are still strong in the neighborhood — the donations are wonderful and will be needed beyond the hashtags and trending topics.
Tune in to find our more about Benny, Urban Ventures, and how you can play a part in building up our communities around us so that all may access the tools and resources to live a life of wealth — on their terms.
Connect with Urban Ventures on Facebook or Instagram: @UrbanVentures
Find out about opportunities to volunteer or donate: www.urbanventures.org
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