Reconnecting People | Once a property has been restored, Urban Homeworks works to connect neighbor to neighbor to create a livable, robust community with a strong sense of home. The result is a rich exchange between households that reweaves a sense of community through day-to-day activities.
Jonathan Vang, Urban Neighbor
When I moved into North Minneapolis last year, I wasn’t sure how my story as an Urban Neighbor would unfold. During the first few months, I immersed myself in the neighborhood. There were so many different ways that I wanted to be an active, loving member of my new community, but I couldn’t do them all and I certainly wasn’t gifted at doing them all. As time progressed, God opened my eyes to the number of kids (more than 50) that lived within a block of my house. I saw them on a daily basis and began to have regular, friendly exchanges with them.
After a few months, I began to intentionally look for the assets that existed within my new community so that I could engage on a deeper level with the kids. I realized that Minneapolis is the #1 bicycle city in the nation and the #1 volunteer city in the nation. These realities, in addition to researching youth development models in other parts of the nation, spurred on an idea to start a bike program. This idea lingered in my mind before I decided to take any action. Would it even work?
A short time later, I took the leap and launched Futurebound Bikes. I’ve been using donated bikes to build relationships with my young neighbors who then build skills, confidence and have another outlet for all of the energy they bring to the table. This past week, two of them earned a bike by completing over 20 hours of community service, bike maintenance classes, and bike rides. It has been an amazing journey and although I don’t know what the lasting impact this program will have on the youth, I do know that the youth have had a lasting impact on me.