Collaboration between the Volunteers of America and the Longfellow Community Council garnered high praise from a member of the Minneapolis City Council in January. Ninth Ward Councilman Gary Schiff presented the Neighborhood Project of the Year Award to the groups for their 2012 work together to boost the economic health of the community.
The groups joined together in the Neighborhood Partnership Initiative (NPI) Project, funded by a grant from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota. The grant provided funds for internships and workshops for VOA’s Lake Street Residential Reentry Center residents. Residents grew vegetables on a plot at the Minnehaha Community Garden, harvested the vegetables, and used them to prepare community meals at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church.
“We are honored to receive this recognition from the City of Minneapolis,” said Amy Moore, Lake Street Social Services Coordinator for VOA. “We have already applied for a 2013 NPI Grant, where we hope to expand on our efforts from last year.”
For more than 40 years, VOA-MN has operated the Residential Reentry Center, assisting former offenders in becoming productive members of society. The center provides men, who are allowed to complete part of their sentences within the community, with a variety of services which enable them to restore community ties, obtain employment and become accountable, productive, tax-paying citizens while avoiding further involvement in the criminal justice system.