BE THE CHANGE: Nonprofit aims to help kidsThe family event Art in Me will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, at Chester Bowl. Call 625-6200 for more information.
By: Sarah Packingham, Budgeteer News
One of Duluth’s newest non-profit organizations is looking to make a difference in the life of every child in Duluth.
Duluth and Beyond, based out of Anchor Point Church, formed in 2008 and became an official non-profit in 2009.
The Duluth and Beyond website describes the organization as “a faith-based, love-motivated, non-profit organization. Since Duluth is our epicenter, we’re starting here, though we expect to make a ripple beyond our city as well. Just like you, we love our city, our region and this world we are riding, and we want to make it the very best place it can be! We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we are looking to partner with groups and sponsor activities that will allow us to bless what is already happening and make it as effective as possible.”
Nate Stewart has been involved in it since the beginning and said that there have been challenges.
Although he holds the title of project coordinator, it doesn’t really describe what he does.
“When you’re at a small non-profit, you wear a lot of hats,” he said. “I do a little bit of everything. The primary part of my job is working on the organization’s funding and doing publicity of our events. I do different networking events; for example I run the organization’s Facebook page.”
Stewart said that social networking outlets like Facebook and Twitter are something that small non-profits like Duluth and Beyond can’t ignore.
“It’s not only beneficial to use them, it’s mandatory,” he said. “We live in a fast-paced society … how can you ignore that big of an audience?”
Over the course of a calendar year Duluth and Beyond holds two different events for the purpose of enriching the lives of children in Duluth.
On Sunday, Aug. 22, the organization is hosting its annual Art in Me event. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chester Bowl.
At the event, children will be able to visit a number of different art stations and try out various forms of art.
Some of the planned activities: painting, drawing, clay sculpting, sand art, dancing and more. There will also be live music and puppet shows.
During the school year, Duluth and Beyond has a program called Rockin’ It for Fun (or RIFF), which gives guitar lessons to any child who wants to come in and learn, Stewart explained.
RIFF takes place at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month at the church.
In order to get involved with Duluth and Beyond, Stewart said all it takes is a simple phone call. There are no religious requirements or time qualifications one must meet in order to become involved.
“We just ask that they stick with the mission, that they have the same purpose as us,” he said.
Stewart said that there are no paid staff members involved in Duluth and Beyond; the organization is completely volunteer run, with as many as 100 active volunteers.
Currently, Duluth and Beyond focuses on kids, but there is a possibility in the future to start some adult-oriented programs as well.
However, Stewart said, there are a number of programs in the area that work with adults and not as many focusing on the betterment of our children.
“That’s where it all starts,” Stewart explained. “Why not go to somebody before they have to go through that tough time? If we can prevent that, we should.
“Being a kid should be the best time of your life, but, for so many of them, it’s the hardest.
“So many kids just want to hear ‘You’re special, you’re important and somebody loves you.’ That’s a responsibility we should all want to take.”
Stewart encourages all Duluthians to get involved in some sort of volunteer effort, whether it’s with Duluth and Beyond or any other organization.
“There’s no shortage of kids who need love,” he said.
Nominate the next ‘Be the Change’ honoree
Mahatma Gandhi was known for saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
He was known for helping India gain its independence and also for inspiring movements seeking civil rights and freedom across the world.
Gandhi had a vision of a better place and there are people in the Duluth community who have ideals similar to his.
In this series, the Budgeteer will profile people who are passionate about making the world a better place.
It doesn’t matter if it’s how they do their job or how they raise their kids — we just want to know about people you know who are making a difference.
If there is anyone you know who impacts Duluth or the surrounding communities, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with “Be the Change” in the subject field to nominate them to be featured in this series.
With your nomination, please include a brief description of what you feel they are doing to impact the Northland.
Frequent Budgeteer contributor Sarah Packingham can be reached via email@example.com.