Happy 50th Anniversary to an amazing organization! In the past year I was invited to sit on the board of Big Sisters of Greater Racine, a group committed to the positive growth of young girls in our community by pairing them with caring volunteer women and encouraging friendships that foster guidance, motivation, and hope. Each year multiple outings/activities are organized for the Bigs and Littes to enjoy together. Our most recent event was held at our own Racine Zoo where the Bigs and Littles experienced “up close and personal” time with live animals, a delicious lunch and fun scavenger hunt throughout the zoo. We had a wonderful time and it makes one’s heart swell to see the smiles on precious faces, both big and little, and the bonds that have been formed between both. The organization has just started our campaign for donations in an effort to support another year of wonderful activities for our Bigs and Littles. Here is a link to donate if the mission of Big Sisters of Greater Racine speaks to you: http://bigsistersracine.org/
Farm to Table…. What does it mean to you? I envision a locally sourced, seasonal meal shared with like-minded people (who respect the food and its preparation) in an organic and beautiful setting. Well, at least that is my experience, anyway. Recently, my husband, Mike, and I were fortunate enough to be invited to join dear friends on their beautiful property for a meal that still makes us salivate upon recollection. We arrived to a beautifully set table with gorgeous organic centerpieces created from vegetation farmed in their very own fields and mismatched chairs set around a rustic table constructed by Mr. Host himself, just a few days prior to the dinner (thank you very much). The chefs were invited from two well respected restaurants in the Milwaukee area, Goodkind and Odd Duck (Check them out: http://goodkindbayview.com/, http://www.oddduckrestaurant.com/). The meal consisted of freshly picked produce from the fields of our hosts, complimented by additional locally sourced food ingredients and delicious wine. In fact, the meal was enjoyed next to their vineyard, where the grapes are harvested and made into wine right on the property ( http://www.mahzehbrand.com/). I was recently told we finished off a case that night….
There is nothing more magical than thoughtful details and wonderful company colliding to create the perfect gathering. Here are some photos from the evening described above (select photos taken by Yoav Meiri and Daniela Lehmkuhl).
If you enjoy the concept of farm to table dinners, check out the annual dinner hosted in a candlelit greenhouse at Milaeger’s in Racine. We attended the inaugural dinner the summer before last in early August and it was phenomenal to say the least. The 5 course meal was prepared on site by Le Merenda (https://www.lamerenda125.com/) with all locally sourced ingredients. The cost was inclusive of amazing food, live music, a pre-seating social hour with signature cocktails, beer and wine samplings, unparalleled service by the amazing Mileager family (complete with smiles and conversation) and a beautifully set table for 100 worthy of a Food and Wine photo shoot. I snapped a photo of the drool worthy table. Check out all the natural elements used. http://www.milaegers.com/
(photo cred: Kara Brennan)
(photo cred: Eileen Geisler)
This past Monday, I attended Racine’s inaugural RYDE to Work Week (October 9-13th) with coffee, donuts, fellow riders, business leaders and community advocates at the Corinne Reid Owens Transit Center. It was great to see some familiar faces and, as always, talk about the future and vast potential of our community. But, hold the phone!!! When I stepped inside our restored historic train depot (currently only utilized as a bus depot) my mouth fell open. I instantly reached for my phone and started snapping photos, all while feeling like an ignoramus for not knowing about or seeing it previously. As I admired its architectural details, butterflies danced in my stomach at the possibilities of community events or even private parties being held in the space. (I have since pursued the possibility and it sounds promising. More on that later). We have countless historic gems in our community with similar potential. Am I only the one who admires vacant historic warehouses on the regular? I think not. Vision, enthusiasm, investors, sweat equity and a few rock star grant writers could transform the landscape of our city. But, before I revitalize the entire city in my head, might I suggest you ride the bus to work (or just ride the bus to ride the bus?) When not at the wheel, one’s attention can be focused on what is outside the window. So many beautiful buildings abound in our city!! I would be surprised if you did not notice one or more for the first time. I would love to hear which building in Racine is your favorite….
Our public transit center is named in honor of Corinne Reid Owens, Racine’s own Rosa Parks. This is a local article written after her death in 2012.
RYDE RACINE http://cityofracine.org/Racine-Transit/
Last evening, I and many others in Racine attended an event called Revealing the Vision, facilitated by Visioning a Greater Racine. According to the organization, the purpose of the event was to “announce the collective data that 1300 visionaries shared for us to be a flourishing community we are all proud to call home by the year 2030.” For several months, visioning sessions were conducted throughout the community with the main initiative being that “everyone has a place at the table.” Intentional effort was made to ensure that these visioning sessions were a true representation of our community. I was fortunate enough to participate in a session, as well as, help with session engagement. The big reveal last night outlined the 11 community goals that were developed as a result of community participation in the sessions. They are:
Education & Youth
Healthy Productive Lives
Culture & Recreation
Model of Environmental Sustainability
Diverse & Collaborative Leadership
Pride & Positive Self Image
Vibrant Atmosphere for Young Adults
All goals are multi-faceted in their initiatives. W.A.V.E.(Working, Action, Vision and Engagement) teams will be formed to work within each area. In fact, we were invited to sign up for one last night. I will be joining the Pride & Positive Self Image team, because it fits nicely with my current investment in our community (Ahem, #askmewhyiloveracine).
Special thanks to The Branch at 1501, a new community minded business in Uptown. Their space is awesome and they have welcomed many community events. Our visionaries are thankful for businesses like The Branch who have taken a chance on Racine, especially in an area such as Uptown (Racine’s next big thing in my opinion! Stay tuned for more about that). Meet a friend for coffee or a glass of wine and check them out soon! The Branch at 1501
I captured this photo from the second floor of the standing room only event last night. There was such an amazing energy in the room! If this is your jam, get tapped in today. http://www.visioningagreaterracine.org