Culinary Excellence for Under $30

In two weeks you can enjoy one or two nights of real food prepared under the direction of a real chef for under $30 each night.  Yes, there are students involved and no, you don’t have to rent a tux.  (Does anyone dress up anymore?)

Here’s the best part – You’ll be supporting Cornerstone Youth Center (CYC), a pro-youth organization that offers FREE membership. According to CYC’s Facebook Page, they “provide opportunities for positive moral growth and sustainable life-skills development for youth and families in Southeast Allen County.”

But in reality there’s No Such Thing as a FREE Lunch…I Mean Dinner.  So here’s what CYC is doing this month to support their mission:

Cornerstone fundraiser

Monroeville is about 30 minutes from Fort Wayne and they have cheesecake.  Contact Kent Castleman for tickets at 260-348-2973 or kcastleman@cornerstonecyc.org.

For the Love of Fort Wayne

Have you heard of Love, Fort Wayne?  It’s a pro-Fort campaign created by the 2014 Leadership Fort Wayne class.  (The valuable entity that is “Leadership Fort Wayne” is a discussion deserving its own blog post.)  Several of the Contagious Community contributors have become involved with the project and for good reason.

According to the group’s website, Love, Fort Wayne (LFW) is “a positive image campaign for our city, captured via video testimonials from Fort Wayne residents and community leaders.”  The project is rolling into the social media world as we speak and the results are engaging.  So engaging that LFW has invited all Fort-lovers to submit their own testimonial via the website.

Consider participating.  Many of us live here for a reason, or a variety of reasons.  Let’s celebrate our city and the people who make it lovable.  (I might be talking about you.)

Love Fort Wayne

Help Turnstone win $100,000! Vote now!

turnstoneBeginning today, you can help Turnstone win $100,000 in the Metamucil ‘Do More Than You Think’ essay contest in partnership with the Dr. Oz Show. Turnstone’s own Erin Arnold submitted her essay for Turnstone and was selected as one of the top 10 national finalist for the contest. Website visitors will be given the opportunity to select their favorite essay to determine the Grand Prize Winner by following the online voting instructions. To vote, visit www.domorethanyouthink.com and enter a valid email address.

The contest will send an email to the address submitted and you will be required to click on the link to confirm your email. Votes will be accepted from February 14 at 3:00PM ET through March 14 at 11:59 ET. Voters must be 18 years of age and there is a limit of one vote per email address per day. The finalist who receives the most votes will win the Grand Prize of $100,000 for their charity. Go to www.domorethanyouthink.com every day through March 14 to vote for Turnstone.

About Turnstone

Founded in 1943, Turnstone empowers people with disabilities by maximizing their independence. The agency’s mission is to provide therapeutic, educational, wellness and recreational programs to empower people with disabilities, and it is the only not-for-profit in the region that offers a full range of programs and facilities designed to meet the unique needs of people with disabilities.

One Billion Rising Fort Wayne

Did you know that domestic violence affects 1 in 3 women? Why don’t we ever hear about those survivors? Many women and girls associate shame and guilt with what happened to them and they are afraid to speak out. Starting last year, women in 207 countries stood up and danced together on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. One Billion Rising Fort Wayne, organized by Lori Rose, will give a voice to those victims in Fort Wayne on February 14.

Lori was inspired by a TED talk by Eve Ensler, playwright, activist and author of “The Vagina Monologues,” last year when Ensler mentioned the One Billion Rising event set for Valentine’s Day 2013. Lori decided Fort Wayne needed to be among the 1 billion dancing on Valentine’s Day and over 600 people came out to Parkview Field last year to attend the event, and she’s doing it again this year. You can be a part of raising awareness about domestic violence and funds for local organizations that provide support services for victims of domestic violence.

Friday February 14, 5:00 pm

One Billion Rising Fort Wayne
Parkview Field
1301 Ewing Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
This is a free event with a suggested donation of $3.

Last year over 600 people joined us to RISE!  Help us fill the stadium even more this year as we take a stand to stop violence against women and girls.  Please take a moment and “join” the event on Facebook.

Community Harvest offers More than Food

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Last month, I had the opportunity to spend some time at Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana (999 E. Tillman Road in Fort Wayne).  I saw something really cool that I wasn’t expecting:  In addition to the traditional grocery items, the food bank stocks several shelves of homemade laundry detergent.  Each bottle of detergent comes with a recipe so that customers can make more at home.

Not only is this environmentally savvy, it’s empowering.  It also requires community involvement.

According to Executive Director Jane Avery,  the eco-friendly laundry detergent is an all-volunteer effort.  Avery states that, “All sorts of volunteers from Girl Scouts to church groups to University of Saint Francis students have worked to make sure we have enough.”

Persons or groups interested in this volunteer opportunity can call the food bank and ask for Tammy Klimek (447-3696). 

I don’t know the exact recipe that they use, but it looks similar to the liquid detergent that I make at home.  If you’d like to try making your own, I recommend visiting a blog called Wellness Mama.

Earth Week Adventure

save maumee

“It can’t be political” was the exact comment that I made to my friend Abby King when we discussed the nuances of doing a blog piece regarding her nonprofit organization. Her response was this: “Water is life. It does not recognize politics, democrats and republicans.”

And so the blog lives.  Save Maumee is a grassroots, 100% volunteer organization that originated in Fort Wayne, Indiana around the year 2001. King had just purchased a home near the Maumee River and quickly discovered that our rivers were contaminated. “When I asked people what they were contaminated with, no one even knew” says King. So she did exactly what we advocate at Contagious Community and became an agent for positive change. Save Maumee continues to thrive and promote activism, awareness, and (albeit quasi-political) to lobby for legal intervention into the safety and sustainability of our water sources.
The organization has become active in Congress (our own Fort Wayne people are affecting the Federal level of government).  They recently educated members of Congress on the downside to widespread vegetation removal around rivers, which was occurring in Fort Wayne. According to King, the organization has made significant progress in achieving bipartisan support in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives in their effort to challenge this devastating but legal practice. I won’t go into detail, but if you’d like to learn more about The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 you can reference two articles published by the Journal Gazette in October, 2013:
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20131023/LOCAL/310239973 (Author: Brian Francisco, accessed 19 January 2014)
http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20131023/LOCAL/310239973 (Author: Brian Francisco, accessed 19 January 2014)

Now here comes the FUN PART! Save Maumee is hosting a canoe/camping trip during Earth Week this year. The trek begins April 18th and runs through the 26th. Per the event flier, the goal of the canoe trip is “to educate and raise awareness regarding water pollution and improvements”. Participants are invited to join for as few or as many days as their schedule and camping-tolerance-level allow. Think of it like a pub crawl through nature, but instead of locating the perfect draft beer the pursuit is on for clean water.
Anyone can participate. Visit http://www.savemaumee.org to find out more.
My eight-days-a-week mom schedule won’t allow me to ride along this year, but I plan to be at the sendoff on April 18th. Maybe I’ll even spring for some trail mix for the canoers (vegan on this particular day by request of the organization). It’s the least I can do in exchange for clean water.