One of Studio BV’s founding principles involves giving back to the community in which we live, work and play. We are so grateful for the support we receive from our community and it’s important for us to pay it forward. Throughout our first year, we have been fortunate enough to volunteer our time with some great organizations. Here is a little bit about our experiences:
Design Forward is put on by the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and is intended to engage College of Design community members in service projects that help improve the quality of life for members of our communities. They put on both a Fall and Spring event and we were lucky enough to participate in both last year. Last October, the Design Forward team spent a morning volunteering at one of Second Harvest Heartland’s Fresh Produce Distributions. We helped set up distribution, sort food, and greet and hand out food to clients. It was wonderful getting the chance to give fresh, healthy food to so many people in need.
This past April, we participated in another service project with Design Forward at Urban Ventures. Urban Ventures’ mission is breaking the cycle of poverty through innovative programs and social enterprises that empower families to take control of their futures. They have several food and nutrition programs. One of these programs is called CityKid Honey. As part of this program, Urban Ventures participants are trained to tend honey bees and extract honey. This honey is then sold both in its raw state and in various products as part of their social enterprise initiative. Another food program is called CityKid Farms. They have two farms where they grow food that is again sold through their enterprise model. During our day of service with Design Forward, Studio BV helped make honey soaps as well as do some spring clean-up at the CityKid Farm at the Midtown Greenway. Our morning there was incredibly rewarding and exposed us to so many thoughtful programs that are happening in our own backyard.
We were excited to volunteer with AIA Minnesota’s Architecture in the Schools Committee in the STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair this August. They hosted a booth in Carousel Park which allowed volunteers to engage with thousands of K-12 children and their families and to expose them to architecture. There were several hands-on activities for visitors to the booth to do that involved building small-scale models of four iconic State Fair buildings. It was so fun to get to share our love of architecture and design with the next generation.
Sustainable Me Pop-ups are kid-focused educational fairs featuring fun, healthy, and green activities that take place within larger community events to meet people where they already gather. The booths highlight ways for youth and families to become leaders in sustainability in their homes, schools, and communities while living healthy and green. This September, we got the opportunity to volunteer with the USGBC Minnesota at a Sustainable Me event at Open Streets Nicollet. We had a great time with the nearly 300 people who stopped by and painted fall trees and learned about sustainable materials with us!
As our studio reflected back over our first year, we were so incredibly grateful to our industry partners who have gone out of their way to make our first year a success. As a way of saying ‘thank you’, we invited them to give back with us at a Feed My Starving Children packing event. Feed My Starving Children believes that hope starts with food. Volunteers hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and they ship these meals to distribution partners around the world. During our packing session, our group packed 21 boxes of food that was on its way to Haiti – this amounts to 4,546 meals which will feed 13 kids for a whole year. Not bad for 2 hours of work! It was such a fun and rewarding way to kick off our first anniversary celebrations!
We will continue to post here about all of the continued ways we are connecting with our community - stay tuned!