Boeye updates city council on Heart and Soul program
Red Oak’s Community Heart and Soul program is still going strong.
The Red Oak City Council was given an update on the group’s activity by core team member Beau Boeye at the regular city council meeting on Feb. 6. Other core members include Cynthia Bangston, Carrie Shalters, James Norris, and Karen Blue.
“In addition to the core team, there are a total of 39 other people who volunteer in various capacities for the group on an ongoing basis,” Boeye said.
The purpose of the group is a resident-driven process that will engage the entire population of the town in identifying what they love most about the community, what future they want for it and how to achieve it, and the first order of business was to hold a community readiness activity at the Wilson Performing Arts Center.
“The activity was a requirement for grant applications. We had a total of 14 participants who considered if Red Oak was ready to move into the Community Heart and Soul Process. It was determined at the end of the meeting that Red Oak could benefit from the process. The numerous active groups and organizations is one of the great assets in Red Oak, and we are hopeful we can establish connections and coordinate events and activities with those organizations moving forward,” Boeye explained.
On October 17, 2022 Boeye said the organization was awarded a seed grant from the Orton Family Foundation.
“As part of the grant agreement, we were required to attend a grant orientation via Zoom. The grant agreement was completed on Nov. 10, 2022. The Red Oak Heritage Foundation, serving as a sponsor for Community Heart and Soul, received the $10,000 grant. On Nov. 12, we followed up the grant receival with a phase one volunteer training session at the Five One 8,” commented Boeye. “This was attended by 25 individuals who learned more about the Community Heart and Soul process.”
Since that phase one meeting, Boeye said the core team has been meeting regularly as they move the organization forward.
“We elected to increase the geographical area of Community Heart and Soul to include the Red Oak School District. This will allow all students and their families a chance to participate and volunteer. We also identified that we had a lot of strong community leaders who live outside of the city, and we wanted to make sure they were also included.”
In addition to the grant, Boeye said the organization received an in-kind donation of a website, Facebook page, and IT help, and is planning on hiring a part time project coordinator.
“We’re expecting the position to be around 20 to 25 hours per week, but that may ramp up depending on what activities are going on. We’ve also been coordinating with other organizations on a position so that someone already working part-time can combine efforts.”
The next step for the organization is a community network analysis from 1 to 4 p.m. March 4 at the Five One 8.
“The community network analysis is a tool for understanding who lives, works, and plays in our community, and will provide a framework for mapping our community’s groups and connectors and give us a strategy that can reach everyone. It is grounded in a principal that involves everyone, knowing the composition of the community is essential for achieving diversity during the process,” Boeye stated.
Lastly, Boeye stated it was a two-year project that was still very much in the beginning stages, but the communty network analysis would be a very key piece of the organization and a fun process as well.
“Other communities have done it and used a big board with a lot of sticky notes that identifies all of the organized and unorganized groups in an effort to identify who may be a core person in those groups that we can reach out to, and have them reach out to their own groups so we can bring the whole community together,” Boeye said.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the renewal of a Class E retail alcohol license for Fareway Stores, Inc. at 811 Broadway.
• Approved the renewal of a Class C retail alcohol license for Casa de Oro at 900 Senate Ave.
• Approved the renewal of a Class B retail alcohol license for Dollar General at 2010 Commerce Dr.
• Approved a new five-day Class C liquor license for the Elks Lodge at 1901 N. 4th St.
• Approved a hangar lease agreement for Cedar Ridge Aviation LLC, per the airport commission’s recommendation.