Green Ribbon Initiatives is a non-profit organization that began in 2013 to draw attention to projects in Eagan that build relationships, community and engagement.
"We presented the award at the school board because it was a school board goal [partnerships that help students succeed]," said Green Ribbon Initiative Board Member Jim Borgschatz. He added, we "wanted to say thank you to them for reaching out to the community."
The partnership between Oak Ridge and Easter Lutheran began as Principal Kris Scallon looked for ways to expand the tutoring at the school. Oak Ridge Elementary has a student population of around 630 and about 43 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch, according to a news release from the Green Ribbon Initiatives. There are more than 20 languages represented at the school. Easter Lutheran Church is located within two miles of the school.
During the 2012-13 school year, more than 34 volunteers from Easter tutored students weekly, assisted in the school library and in after school classes. Easter also provided four community meals, and in the summer the church provided lunches to students at Cinnamon Ridge Apartments, many of whom attend Oak Ridge.
In the 2013-14 school year, 65 members from Easter have expressed an interest in volunteering at Oak Ridge. This year students in after school classes can bring home a bag of non-perishable food in a program the church calls “Families Feeding Families.” About 40 families are accepting these donations weekly, for six weeks.
The partnership, said Borgschatz, is "a powerful example of two organizations together getting more done than what they were doing by themselves."
"Easter’s partnership with Oak Ridge Elementary School has blessed us in many ways," said Easter Lutheran Church Pastor Kris Capel in the news release. He added, “This partnership has helped us to better understand the changing dynamics of Eagan and motivated us to look to other places in our community that are facing similar challenges to Oak Ridge.”
About Green Ribbon Initiatives
Green Ribbon Initiatives desires to see community engagement awards that:
- Increase the sense of community in Eagan.
- Increase the ability to improve the community at all levels.
- Increase the utilization of volunteers, especially the aging in place.
- Increase awareness of community engagement by a wider circle of persons.
- Recognize community engagement by increasing volunteerism and voter turn out.
Green Ribbon Initiatives was formed for the purpose of identifying and celebrating significant community engagement initiatives and partnerships in Eagan. Awards will be presented to exemplary initiatives in Eagan which build relationships and a collective sense of community in Eagan while promoting sustainable action that strengthens community engagement.
The recognition process is meant to support and encourage the cultivation, motivation and coordination of multiple levels of community resources available to strengthen community.
Community engagement is understood as individuals and organizations working together on common interests for mutual benefit and in the interest of the larger community.
Green Ribbon Initiatives seeks to weave engagement into the community fabric and address barriers to engagement when they are identified.
This partnership is exemplary and significant and meets all selection criteria; we are pleased and excited to make this award.
Green Ribbon Leadership Team: Jim Borgschatz (president), Gene VanOverbeke, Tom Hedges, Arleen Sullivan, Dave Unmacht, Paula Forbes, Don Hoeft
2014 due dates for nominations: February 1, 2014 and August 1, 2014. More information about Green Ribbon Initiatives Awards, nomination forms, application forms, and ways to help can all be found at www.greenribbon.info.