Impact is not built in a vacuum or by a single caped hero. It is a long winding journey requiring a village of champions. Since our conception, CoAct has been intentional in recruiting a diverse range of perspectives to guide our projects. It is through these diverse perspectives that we have been able to discover the amazing solutions that have brought our projects to life. The most exciting surprises have been seeing our champions take the initiative to explore and prototype creative ideas. As we wave good-bye to 2021, we want to highlight some of the amazing work our champions created this year to aid us in our journey to build an inclusive and creative future.
Jose Rodriguez with Latino One Stop has brought a plethora of talents as a born and bread Fort Worthian. Trained as a packaging designer, CoAct gave him a vessel to engage community work for the first time. His curiosity led him to create multiple props and medias which have been used to host events, gather insights, and most recently in Real Stories.
Whitney Johnson is a talented artist, gardener, and advocate. She approached us in May to draw an interactive chalk mural as part of our launch for the Mindful Market. Her talents have since been shared to help CoAct create interactive props, painted portraits, and explore ideas for Real Stories and The Mindful Market.
Ethan hails from Texas State University where he studies interior design. He is a man of many talents ranging from tiny home designer, digital artist, and builder. Ethan showcased his amazing talent to produce digital art work at Real Stories, where he put together 4 amazing static and animated pieces. He also made a special trip to Fort Worth to help install our first in viewing of Real Stories in 2021.
Tanner joined CoAct as an intern from Texas Christian University in 2020 and brought a wealth of experience using design methodologies to explore and solve problems. Through his talents, we incorporated the use of Miro, launched a project to explore the indirect effects of COVID-19, and revamped CoAct's website to help us drive up participation and awareness.
Amy Roehl is a professor of interior design at Texas Christian University. Working with CoAct during the fall semester, her class explored how to create immersive virtual experiences. Through their sessions the class designed additional interactive spaces for Real Stories Virtual to add additional depth to Que Vaughn Glenn's story. In addition, Amy has been a reoccurring supporter and volunteer with Grow Southeast.
I have the distinct honor of calling Charlie, friend. A master market farmer with Shines Farm Stand, Charlie has been an essential part of developing Grow Southeast. His passion for growing and addressing the disparities in our community have helped us build 4 farms in East Fort Worth, and train two farm apprentices. If you have not had a chance to visit him, please do so every Saturday at Cowtown Farmers Market.
Celina has been a lead volunteer often arriving with tools in hand to help us build the farms. Behind the scenes, she has helped us with volunteer recruitment and helping the farmers with Grow Southeast put together grants. Celina joined as a steering committee member this year to help us develop both projects and bring additional healthy food options to East Fort Worth.
Ashely joined as an intern from The University of Texas at Arlington at the beginning of 2021. Passionate about public health, she had a heavy hand in helping Mind Your Garden Urban Farm's set up their volunteer strategy and understanding the challenges with addressing food insecurity and running an urban farm. She carried this passion into the volunteer days she lead and the communities she engaged.
Betsy Ramirez Carbajal:
Besty joined us from Texas Christian University as an intern starting in late 2020. Spending some time at Mind Your Garden Urban Farm, she gained an appreciation for the hard work required to address food insecurity. Her passion for sustainability and health led her to help us develop The Mindful Market where she secured in kind donations to help launch the project.
Brenda Espinoza Patton:
Brenda and Blue Zones Project Fort Worth have been avid supporters of Grow Southeast since the project started. Working with us over this 5 year journey, they have helped our group with finding engineers, funding essential material purchases, volunteering, marketing, inviting subject matter experts, funding key infrastructure, and helping us collaborate with the City of Fort Worth.
Yvette has been an advocate for Grow Southeast and our efforts to address the food disparities in Southeast Fort Worth. She is a gifted writer, preacher, and community leader and leverage her skillsets to help Grow Southeast get visibility through published articles and extending opportunities for our organization to share insights on our amazing work.
Richard joined us from Tarrant County College Connect Campus this year as a steering committee member for Real Stories. His knowledge as an artist and art instructor helped us with planning and building Real Stories as a traveling installation. He has helped us think about the critical issues students face and extended opportunities for us to build awareness on college homelessness with the student base.
Carlos joined from FWISD and Akachi Ranch, a local farm and ranch outside of Hillsboro. A champion in equitable education and local food production, Carlos participated as our first food vendor for our pilot of the Mindful Market. He also helped us share insights on Grow Southeast by extended opportunities to speak on FWISD Family Action Center webinar series.
Jamal gave CoAct an opportunity to pilot The Mindful Market at TWU this year. We are building off the insights gained to relaunch the market in April 2022. Jamal also helped bring volunteers through Alpha Phi Alpha to help support Grow Southeast.
Linda has been a though leader and key implementer for many of the healthy initiatives in the Greater Tarrant County Area for over a decade. She granted our group an opportunity to help a small handful of community members develop their land into urban farms and 5 years later, we launched Grow Southeast with a 4 farms on a pathway to production.
Steven and Ursula Nunez:
Steven and Ursula are co-founders of Mind Your Garden Urban Farm. They have been developing a 3-acre site to cultivate a community of wellness. As I have come to know them both as friends, they have been an inspiration to help me, and other peers explore the possibilities of a plant based lifestyle. Working alongside CoAct, they are helping us plan the next launch of The Mindful Market in 2022.
Garret joined as an intern in 2021 from Texas Christian University. With experience in video editing he helped CoAct over the summer with planning our our first viewing Real Stories. He explored different media types we could deploy, developed short promo videos for the project, and helped with creating marketing. He also worked to help us develop a content for Opal's Farm business plan.
Dhiren joined as an intern in 2021 and helped CoAct research municipal protocols for Grow Southeast and The Mindful Market. He also took initiative to help us conduct interviews with community members to identify the factors that influence our decisions to socialize, eat, and drink to aid Mind Your Garden Urban Farm with developing their Healthy Hour program.
Logan joined as an intern in 2020 from UT Austin as an architecture major and worked with us through early 2021 to help develop Real Stories Virtual. Through his creative experimentation, we discovered how to build the virtual gallery and test the limits of Mozilla Hubs.
Catherine has been a reoccurring volunteer. Hailing from Baylor, she aligned a nutrition class to help Mind Your Garden Urban Farm assess the healthiness of the plant based recipes they had started adopting has part of their mission.
To the many countless volunteers that have participated at the Farms and our events, we extend a special thank you! Our journey would not be complete with out your continued support!
To our student champions with Real Stories. Thank you for your support and bravery! Your shared experiences are helping us build awareness and understanding to the unique challenges college students face.
To those that supported CoAct with a donation, we appreciate your gift! Every dollar helps us make impact towards the pressing challenges our communities face.
Steering Committee Members:
A special thanks to everyone that shared their time and insights as part of our steering committees. Your guidance and actions have helped us bring our project to life.
A special round of thanks to our board of directors who have supported us in this journey.
A can not express enough about the support I receive from my team. Amanda Arizola and Juan Villalpando have been an open ear, mentors, and facilitators. To our interns, who have taken on the creative risk of exploring and testing new ideas.
CoAct wishes everyone a safe and eventful holiday! We look forward to 2022 and the opportunities it will bring. For those that wish to make an end of the year contribution, please feel free to do so at the link below!