Citizens awards recently were granted as part of a Brainerd lakes area community development process.
This month the Mobilizing Our Dreams organization is celebrating the anniversary of the first grant award from the Blandin Foundation, as part of the Blandin Community Investment Program.
At a series of community meetings in 1999, residents of Nisswa, Baxter and Brainerd identified cultural and recreational opportunities, lifelong learning and environmental stewardship as areas that needed to be strengthened through further development.
As part of this process the Mobilizing Our Dreams participants wish to celebrate individuals, businesses and organizations that embody these three values.
Saturday, Shelli Urness, project coordinator, announced the recipients of these awards, recognizing the Southeast Brainerd Residents' Association as the winner of the Environmental Stewardship Award, resident Judy Kidder as the recipient of the Life Long Learning Award, and Evelyn Matthies as the recipient of the Cultural/Recreational Opportunities Award.
For the past six years volunteers from southeast Brainerd have participated in an annual springtime neighborhood cleanup program. Service groups have been organized to help, including the Minnesota National Guard, the PORT boys and girls homes, Sentence to Serve program, Cub Scout Pack 82, Volunteer in Service to America workers, Community Asset Builders members, and the Crow Wing County Solid Waste Office.
As recipients of the first Environmental Stewardship award, the SEBRA organization received a $500 gift certificate for the help of an artist for any project that will further enhance neighborhood pride.
The Crossing Arts Alliance is another program supported by the Blandin Foundation through Mobilizing Our Dreams, and will help identify options for using the award money.
Don Hickman, the Environmental Stewardship chair, is preparing the papers necessary to nominate SEBRA for the Governor's Awards for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention, administered through the state Office of Environmental Assistance.
Kidder was named as the recipient of the Life Long Learning Award for her dedication to the community and support of the many organizations and projects that support intergenerational learning.
Kidder is currently director of the Youth as Resources program, serves on the board of directors of CARE, was instrumental in getting SEBRA established, and is involved in many others committees and organizations that support community development, including the Friends of the Library, The Crossing Arts Alliance, among others.
Kidder also has been one of the driving forces to work with The Brainerd Dispatch in the establishment of the free community Web sites for the area.
Kidder will receive award money to donate to community projects that further the development of lifelong learning projects.
Matthies also will receive award money as the Cultural/Recreational Opportunities priority area recipient. The award money will be used toward enhancement of the arts in the community.
Matthies is a former art instructor at Central Lakes College, president of The Crossing Arts Alliance, member of many civic groups, including the AAUW, National Art Educators, Minnesota Art Educators, among others. She founded the Brainerd Area Art Club and along with her husband, Bill, is owner of the Minnesota School of Diving and the Evelyn Matthies Studio and Gallery, one of the few nonprofit art galleries in central Minnesota.
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