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New City Neighbors Community Spotlight
By: NATALIE TOPALIAN LISSA MARQUES
TISBITS
Nov 13, 2017

Grand Rapids Community Spotlight: New City Neighbors, pt. 2

New City Neighbors Grand Rapids Gif

Last year was Team TIS's first year of participating in a Grand Rapids community-supported agriculture (CSA) program as an office. We loved our farm share with New City Farm so much that we felt inspired to learn more about these folks. So, we interviewed Lance Kraai, New City's farm director, and learned more about how the farm got started and their goals within the Grand Rapids community. We felt pretty inspired by New City and were even more assured after this interview that we would be getting another farm share with them in 2017.

Growing a Partnership

In January of this year, we were fortunate to hear from Alaina Dobkowski, New City's executive director, about a promotional video project they were hoping to create for New City Neighbors (the over-arching organization/brand) for their annual fundraiser. After months of planning, interviewing, filming, and editing footage, New City finally had their 10th Anniversary Celebration & Fundraiser last week—and the video is seriously a tear jerker!

Before we show you the video, let's put the spotlight on New City Neighbors, its noble purpose and how they make a positive impact on the Grand Rapids community and our youth, in particular.

Community Spotlight: New City Neighbors

New City Neighbors is a faith-based community development organization in the Creston Neighborhood of Grand Rapids that works with a diverse community of youth from grades 1-12.

Mission: Empowering youth to reach their full potential

New City Neighbors offers several programs and employment opportunities for Grand Rapids students, all intended to help empower each individual by developing and strengthening their unique skills.

  1. New City Afterschool: This program is open to all youth, grades 2-5, with special leadership opportunities for middle school students. NCA meets three days and is focused on academic support, growing in faith, leadership, and learning new skills with rotating clubs, such as Cooking Club, Gardening Club, Acting Club, and more.
  2. New City Breaktime: In this seven-week summer day camp, students in grades 2-5 learn life skills, reinforce what they have learned at school, make new friends, and create memories.
  3. New City Farm: The farm employs youth to get their hands dirty and learn physical skills like planting, weeding and harvesting. But their learning goes beyond their work in the field; they learn about marketing, customer service, conflict resolution, and the challenge and rewards of working with a diverse team—especially now with the launch of their new café!
  4. New City Café: The newest addition to New City Neighbors, New City Café launched in the spring, creating a place of connection for students, workers and the Grand Rapids community. The café sells baked goods made by the students and utilizes the farm's produce for their delish menu items like soups, salads and wood-fired pizzas. This new initiative also serves as an extension of empowerment for youth as they show the neighborhood and themselves that they are capable of creating and serving delicious food they made and helped grow themselves.

Get the full picture—watch the video!

While we could go on and on recounting all of the inspiring conversations, interviews, events, and candid moments we witnessed over the last several months working with the folks and kiddos at New City, none of these stories would do it justice like seeing it yourself! 

Click here to watch the trailer.

Click here to watch the full video.

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