I promised to report back on my Murray-Wolfridge experience and here it is. In a word: amazing. For those who aren't familiar with this program, it's a combination environmental/cultural/leadership learning experience for 80 Murray students which is specially crafted in partnership with Wolfridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN. I have had the opportunity to be a part of it all on numerous occasions and every time I make the drive back home along the ruggedly scenic north shore of Lake Superior, I reflect on this powerful experience and the people who make it all happen.
 

Murray teachers, Tim Chase and Carrie Bittner, have developed an innovative curriculum in partnership with Wolfridge that challenges students physically, socially, culturally and academically. A typical day starts with breakfast followed by a student-developed and presented class describing the history of one of the school's many cultures. Then it's off to an outdoor activity, back for lunch, different culture class, another outdoor activity, dinner, an indoor or outdoor activity, bedtime snack and lights out.  Busy, but they do have enormous fun and downtime to just socialize.

 

Tim and Carrie's thoughtful and engaged leadership, aided by other teachers and volunteers, creates an inclusive and supportive atmosphere of learning and growth. There's time to celebrate student triumphs as a group or comfort their frustrations in quiet one-on-one sessions in a hallway or on a trail. Much is asked of these students and they invariably come through. A closer, more empathetic group will return to Murray to set a tone of cooperation for the rest of the school year under the banner, "We're More Alike Than Different." I don't think it's hyperbole to say that this opportunity will be life-changing for some of these kids.

Through your support, the Foundation ensures that programs like this continue to give our children the skills, understanding and experiences they need to be successful.

 

Apparently, Amazon is trying to polish up its world dominance image by supporting non-profits with AmazonSmile, a program that allows shoppers to designate a charity to receive .05% of your online purchases. Seems like they could up that a bit, but it's a start and you can check it out in the SAPSA blog. Every bit helps. Also plan to stop by Micawber's on Dec. 6's Shop Home for the Holidays event, 10% of all purchases on that day will go to support the school's library.

 

Murray is having a get-together for prospective students and their parents on Monday, Nov. 17 from 6:30-7:30 at our local branch library on Como Ave. Come and find out about Wolfridge, E2, and all the great stuff going on at our local middle school from current students, staff and parents.  

 

Looking for a 24-hour dance party on Give to the Max Day, tomorrow, Nov. 13? MOI has it, starting at 12:01am. There's dancing, yoga, food, coffee and all sorts of fun stuff planned. Check out their website to find out more. 

 

There's an interesting article in Citylabs, an online collection of stories about urban America. Seems the more liberal the city, the more difficult it is to find affordable housing. There are a number of reasons listed as possible explanations for why this is, including environmental and historic preservation concerns, geographic constraints and a bias against new development. There isn't a simple answer but it is food for thought. How can we make all our urban areas accessible to a wider range of housing options?

 

Our branch library is offering a free showing of the Tom Hanks movie, Saving Mr. Banks on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 1-3pm. The movie is about Walt Disney and the making of Mary Poppins, but it might be a bit dark for the kids. Apparently it was not a "spoon full of sugar" for Walt and Poppins' author, P.L. Travers. 

 

ParkNotes
Neighbor Mimi Jennings is starting a poetry/ writing get-together at Micawber's Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm beginning tomorrow, Nov. 13. She invites writers of all stripes to join in this experimental effort...Satori Photography in Milton Square can make your 2014 holiday cards shine withgreat photos and designs...the Boy Scouts are still selling wreaths. If they missed you, you can contact them by email...Nate Juergens, son of neighbors, Ann Juergens & Jay Weiner, had a piece published in MinnPost's "Community Voices" section, which describes his experiences providing medical assistance in the Himalayas. Very interesting and well-written...SAPAS is offering free coffee and games for seniors at the UMC at Como & Hillside, Fridays Nov. 13 & 21 from 9:30-11:30am...Neighborhood Sing is rolling around again. Next Mon. Nov. 17, 6:30 social, 7-8:30pm open your throats. Luther Sem Olson Student Center. 


Finally, tomorrow, Nov. 13 is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota. You can go online and give to your favorite charity. If you do, there are some additional incentives that might enhance your contribution. Whether you take part in this event or not, please remember to support those community organizations that make St. Anthony Park home.

We feel the Foundation is one of those and would welcome a contribution online or in the mail. To make that easier you can visit our website or wait for our letter in the mail and put your check in the handy return envelope. Thanks in advance for your generosity.


That's all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.

Jon

SAVE THE DATE: The Foundation will host their second annual State of the Park Forum and Non-Profit Fair from 6:30-8:30pm on Thursday, Dec. 4 at the St.AP Elementary School.

 

Want to learn more about the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation? Want to get involved?
Contact Jon Schumacher
651-641-1455 or jon@sapfoundation.org