This summer, the Leadership Arvada Class of 2016 will unveil a tool to help nonprofits, religious, school and community organizations — and I couldn't be more excited about it.
Imagine a gathering with friends and family on a sunny summer afternoon, the scent of food on a grill permeating the air as you celebrate the community organizations that mean most to you.
That grill, The Kiwanis Cookout Kitchen for Charity, is this year's Leadership project, a tool that we hope will give groups across the opportunity to grow in a tasty new way.
Arvada Leadership is a nine-month course designed to give community members an in-depth perspective on the city and how its entities work together, while encouraging growth in leadership and service to the community.
“When we looked at the different organizations serving Arvada, there are so many great ones out there, we couldn't just pick one to support,” said Rita Lawrence, class member and public relations lead for the project. “We feel by building this Cookout Kitchen for Charity, we can support all of those organizations."
The mobile kitchen project brings Leadership together with one of the city's longest-run service clubs, the Arvada Jefferson Kiwanis. The kitchen, complete with grill tops, cutting and food prep surfaces, cooking utensils, tables and more, will help organizations add flavor to fundraising events with little to no overhead costs. From hot dogs to pancakes to taco bars, the mobile kitchen will serve 50 to 75 people while dishing upa side of awareness.
Once completed, the Kitchen will live as a sponsored program within the Kiwanis club and be available to help community organizations raise funds and awareness across Jeffco. The goal is to touch all areas of the city and county to foster community and, in doing so, form partnerships with public, private and nonprofit organizations.
“We have such a collective vision,” said Chase Citrowski, project manager for the mobile kitchen, on getting to the fundraising and building stage of the project. “Between the people that are the facilitators, the people who get others interconnected, and the people who just want to get it done, the people involved make this amazing … This is going to be real, and we're going to actualize it.”
At the start of Leadership Arvada, with meets monthly and began in September, the class was charged with one task: Make an impact.
Called The Project, this task is designed to encourage class members to work together to meet the needs of someone or something in the city.
“One of the tenets of the program is the interface with the community and getting involved — and giving back,” said Lynn Sierras-Krone, facilitator of the course and the Arvada Chamber of Commerce's program coordinator. “This is where people can really shine and bring their individual skills to the project.”
This year, besides the Kiwanis Cookout Kitchen for Charity, the class also chose a second project, “A Nature Play Yard,” a natural playground at the Majestic View Nature Center. Through these projects, the class hopes to leave behind a legacy, one that will inspire the community to be outside, be with one another and cook out for a good cause.
So, as Citrowski said,: “Let's get cookin!”