Our Blog

Cottage Grove For Life Newsletter


FALL 2015 Newsletter
In this issue:
Hampton Circle of Friends
Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association
Mustard Seed Community Health
New Hope Groups
English classes
Cottage Grove and Purpose Built Communities
Master Gardeners
Healthy Homes
BCBSNC grant
Save the Date for Housing Summit

Circle of Friends launches support for Hampton Elementary School:
Hampton Elementary School is in the center of the Cottage Grove Community and essential for the goal of high quality education from cradle to career or college. Principal Thyais Maxwell and the entire faculty and staff are committed to an ambitious school improvement plan. The Circle of Friends is a group of over fifty people from all sectors of the Greensboro community committed to this cause, the school, and the children of the Cottage Grove neighborhood. The Circle of Friends serves by volunteering wherever their skills and influence can touch and change a child’s life and where needed and by providing the material and financial resources to support the programmatic needs of the children. Priorities this year are:

1. A mentoring program, already well established through the partnership with NCA&T, is seeking cohort of adults to serve in a one-on-one relationship with students identified by the school who either desire such a relationship or would be greatly benefited by one. Thomas Griffis, who served last year as a mentor is the “captain” of this initiative and will be reporting in more detail on the program, its important value, and its need for committed volunteers.

2. ACES (After School Care and Enrichment Services) program, providing academic support, enrichment experiences, and recreational activities while emphasizing the values of character, respect, responsibility, and discipline. Many of Hampton’s students whose parent or parents are working are “latch key kids,” going home at the end of the school day for hours of unsupervised time because they cannot afford ACES. Our goal is to raise at least $10,000 for scholarships. Tax deductible gifts may be made to the Hampton Elementary School, 2301 Trade Street, Greensboro, NC 27401. A gift of $50 will fund one child for a week, a gift of $200 will fund one for a month, and a gift of $1,000 will fund the child for the balance of the year.

3. Reading makes a huge difference in the academic success of the students. In order to be a Reading Buddy or to work in classrooms with students, you must register as a volunteer at the Guilford County School web site, www.gcsvolunteers.com. As you complete the registration, designate Hampton Elementary as the school in which you want to volunteer, mark the areas in which you are interested, and the times you may be available. Upon your approval, Ms. Walser-Desautels, the social worker and volunteer coordinator at the school, will contact you by email and assign you to a teacher. The teacher will send you an email to determine the specific area of interest and times that work within the class schedule. Also, if you would let me know that you have completed the registration, I will be able to keep a record of our involvement. You will build relationships with them while supporting their growth in reading. The Reading Buddies from Christ United Methodist Church and the Hamilton Lakes Lions Club have found this to be a very rewarding experience. Contact Carolyn McKinney comkville@aol.com or 336-638-8682.

4. Robotics will encourage students to be interested in science, technology, and math. We plan to conduct robotics for grades 3-5. We’ll have them working with the LEGO robotics kits. We have spoken to the executive director of NC FIRST (the organization that manages all robotics from K-12 in the state of NC), Marie Hopper, and we’ve managed to work some very good things out: NC FIRST will give us any robotics kits we’ll need for free. Hampton already has some kits (I’ll be doing an inventory check on Wednesday) but if we need any extras, we know who to ask. We’ll have the kids work on the First Lego League challenge from last year. It is in our best interest to give the kids a practice year before signing them up for the actual competition. We’ll work the kids through a curriculum prepared by Carnegie-Mellon University. Ms. Hopper recommended it to us. NC FIRST will train us as mentors; the training session typically lasts about 2 hours, to be scheduled soon. Robotics at Hampton will definitely come to fruition; it’s up to us to make sure that it comes fast. Thank you very much. Contact Yusuf Olakoba olakobayusuf@gmail.com

Hampton Saturdays enrich students’ lives with music, art, gardening, exercise play, and other activities on the second Saturday morning of each month. Parents join in the activities, enjoying healthy interactions with children, volunteers, and the Hampton team.
At Hampton, several other initiatives are under consideration including a “pre-college skills development program” to help assure that upon entry to middle school children have an understanding and a rudimentary grasp on those skills they will need to further develop in middle school and high school if they are to gain entry in our state university system and/or qualify for “SAY YES TO EDUCATION” last dollar funding.

Parents as Teachers program of Guilford County has specially trained “parent educators” who work with individual families and parents to help them better understand their role as their child’s first teacher. Emphasizing that the most critical developmental period in a child’s life is from birth to kindergarten, they instruct and support parents in how to promote their child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development from cradle to kindergarten to assure that the child has the essential tools he/she needs upon entry into formal education.

You will be hearing more specifically from our captains about our priorities and their needs either in this newsletter or in subsequent ones. For now I hope I have succeeded in providing you an understanding of the needs of the school and our highest priorities as a supportive Circle of Friends. Contact Russ Ingersoll rustyi@zebray.com

Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association strengthens community ties:
Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association (CGNA) held their first organizational meeting in June 2015—and immediately planned a successful National Night Out (over 100 people on August 4, with city council, police officers, fire truck, and hotdogs) and submitted a proposal to Building Stronger Neighborhoods for Cottage Grove street signs, workshops to share expertise, and neighborhood events. We chose “Cottage Grove for LIFE!” as our motto and ordered T-shirts for members to proclaim our neighborhood pride. Membership meetings are the second Tuesday of each month 5:30-6:30 at 238 S. English; members receive T-shirts and pay $5 dues per meeting. The membership telethon reached out to invite neighbors to join CGNA and to come to a Meet and Greet on December 14, 5:30 pm, in the New Hope Missionary Baptist multipurpose room. CGNA has 5 representatives on the Cottage Grove Council to make decisions about priorities and programs for Healthy Cottage Grove Community funding. CGNA president Verna Torain is making a major presentation about Cottage Grove to the National Center for Healthcare Leadership conference in Chicago, with Cone Health’s Director of Community Relations Kathy Colville. Contact: Verna Torain vernatorain@gmail.com

Mustard Seed Community Health held Open House October 22:
Cottage Grove will soon have a doctor! Mustard Seed Community Health will open a primary health care center at 238 S. English this month. Mustard Seed board chair Scott Kutos, Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association president Verna Torain, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Dr. G.I. Allison, New Hope Community development Group board chair Minister Marvin Richmond, Jr., District 1 City Councilwoman Sharon Hightower, and Chamber of Commerce representative Latrice White welcomed the health center at the Open House.

At Mustard Seed, we recognize that health is not all about healthcare, particularly for those in our community living with economic and social hardship. Though Mustard Seed will absolutely provide primary medical and behavioral healthcare within the Cottage Grove neighborhood, we continue to work with our community partners, including the Cottage Grove Initiative, New Hope Community Development Group, Greensboro Housing Coalition, Cone Health, and Guilford Public Health Department, and the newly formed Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association to go “upstream” and promote wellness within the community, avoiding costly medical crises and chronic illnesses.

Mustard Seed needs your help to provide these services. While sliding scale for uninsured patients will start at $10 per visit, actual cost is $200 covered by donors like you. Compare this to typical emergency department costs of $1200-2000 when people get so sick they have to go to the hospital—and then come back to the same conditions that made them ill. Click on http://www.mustardseedclinic.org/volunteer.html to support health! Contact Dr. Beth Mulberry beth.mulberry@mustardseedclinic.org

New Hope Groups:
October 31 landscaping day on the grounds of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in support of the opening of the Mustard Seed Community Health Center, which will be located on the campus of the church. Church trustees, deacons, New Hope Community Development Group members and other volunteers installed plants to make us compliant with city requirements, in order to get our Certificate of Occupancy. In addition to the plantings reflected in the video, we will install further under story trees in front of the building. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4csYPk6COxQ&sns=em. We will also be installing community gardening raised beds behind the health center. The church and volunteers are working under the project lead of Master Gardner, Laura Tew. Contact Pat Macfoy nhcdg.inc@gmail.com and Laura Tew lauratew56@gmail.com.

English classes on S. English Street:
Cottage Grove Community Associates interviewed over 300 neighbors, some wanted to learn English, so Pat Macfoy of the New Hope Community Development Group contacted GTCC about providing ESOL classes; New Hope Missionary Baptist Church contributed the location on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Joseph Lain interpreted for neighbors from Burma (Myanmar) to enroll and is coordinating child care so parents can attend every class. In Joseph’s own words “Everything that you guys say or that we talk about will be good for us. Because I know that you guys are doing/working on what is best for the community. The last meeting that we had it was good. If childcare is provided that would be awesome as well. People will not fall for scams. Food Stamps are not enough. Medicare has been discontinued. When the people can speak better English/education, they will get better jobs with better pay. This will be good for all, state and federal functions are happier as well”. Contact: Joseph Lain or Pat Macfoy nhcdg.inc@gmail.com

Cottage Grove Initiative participates in Purpose Built Communities gathering Oct 5-7:
Tonya Moore-White, resident of Cottage Grove and small business owner, and Skip Crowe of the Cottage Grove Initiative attended the Purpose Built Communities Network Members Conference in Fort Worth TX. Over 400 people from 40 cities around the country were in attendance to see Fort Worth’s revitalization project based on the Purpose Built model and hear experts in the fields of affordable housing, community health and education share what’s working in America. Sessions included how community engagement is critical for a successful project, community health initiatives being undertaken around the country, new teacher initiatives and updates on housing issues. The opportunity to network with the 40 cities that are in various stages of their projects is one of the most beneficial aspects of the conference. The willingness of participants to share their resources, successes and failures helps build friendships and a feeling that we are part of a movement that is making a difference. The staff of Purpose Built did a wonderful job of providing information, building community and showing all that through hard work, residents of distressed community can break the cycle of generational poverty and make their neighborhoods thrive. Contact Skip Crowe skipcrowe@triad.rr.com

Master Gardener Volunteers plant for the future:
September 30 – bio-blitz in the school yard engaged all classes of Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders under the guidance of Erin Benavides, UNCG graduate teaching assistant, and her twenty interns. The objective was to use scientific method skills to observe, record data, and draw conclusions about living materials in the outdoors. In the garden, students discovered crickets, earthworms, grubs, spiders, fungi, tomatoes, peppers, and flowers while harvesting and weeding.  October 10 enrichment Saturday – five groups of students planted the beds following behind two strong high school volunteers who kept pace removing Bermuda grass and enriching the soil with compost before each student group gathered around their assigned 4X4 planting area. The students planted collards, cabbage and lettuces – as well as bulbs and pansies which will provide a colorful surprise in the spring. The high school students also added two butterfly bushes, two blueberry bushes, and two rosemary bushes to the front landscape. Contact Laura Tew lauratew56@gmail.com

EVERYONE can contribute to Cottage Grove.
What can YOU teach? What do you want to learn?

Healthy Homes bus tour came to Cottage Grove October 27:
On the 12th annual bus tour, over 120 community leaders rode GTA buses through Cottage Grove, stopping on Apache Street to hear about Greensboro Housing Coalition helping tenants and their apartment manager learn to reduce asthma triggers—especially mold, roach infestations, and gaps around windows and doors in apartments. Housing interventions like these made a significant decrease in hospital visits for asthma emergencies in the Asthma Partnership Demonstration between Greensboro Housing Coalition and Cone Health. Contact Brett Byerly brett@greensborohousingcoalition.com.


BCBSNC Foundation awards Cottage Grove a Community-Centered Health grant:
Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina Foundation’s new Community-Centered Health framework is building leadership capacity for safety-net clinics and community organizations to work together for “upstream” health to change the community conditions that make people sick. In addition to receiving excellent technical assistance, Cottage Grove is being awarded a grant for training community members for leadership roles in “upstream” projects and for developing a strategic plan for community health. Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association is at the center of the partnership, with New Hope Community Development Group, Mustard Seed Community Health, Cottage Grove initiative, Greensboro Housing Coalition, Cone Health, and Guilford County public health as support organizations. Vegetable gardens, healthy homes, and health outreach teams will expand choices for healthy living. When people have strong community relationships—and can communicate with each other—they can stay healthy! By the end of 2016, Cottage Grove will have a plan, community leaders, and partnerships ready to transform health.

More From The Mustard Seed Blog:

Next Post:

Previous Post:

Return to the Blog Home Page »