First Fridays have been in place for just over a year now, with the first First Friday taking place in January 2017. In 2018, BB2C has been able to participate because of our new location and the addition of the Makerspace. This past Friday we participated in our third First Friday and the March theme of Nonprofit Night gave the evening a very different feel....from our perspective anyway.
Because of the Nonprofit Night theme, BB2C was registered for the evening along with about 50 other nonprofit organizations from the area. Those registered were then either paired with a downtown merchant or they could set up on the lawn of the Armory. Riverside Artists Gallery chose BB2C, the Humane Society, and the Food Pantry as the nonprofits to feature in their store for the evening. Not only were we there for the evening, but they have put together a fund raiser that will support the three organizations. Create to Donate provides the opportunity for anyone to make a small piece of art, then feature it in the artist walk during the July First Friday to be sold. Fifty percent of the proceeds will go to one of the three nonprofits included in the collaboration, and the other fifty will support summer programming provided by Riverside Artists. How generous is that?
While Tasha was hanging out at Riverside for the evening meeting various artists involved with the store and several customers, Tonya, Pamela, and Jenny were back at the Epicenter welcoming visitors and offering folks a membership to the makerspace for the first time ever. We also highlighted a couple of our collaborators and had them on hand to talk with visitors about their organizations. Being able to participate in First Fridays has been a great experience for us.
Tonya - First Fridays are an opportunity to create a sense of community. We have seen several families come through the makerspace at the Epicenter. I feel it’s giving us an opportunity to build a place for the community to enjoy. On a professional note, wonderful partnerships and collaborations always occur. So many wonderful things have developed from these First Friday’s of 2018! Donations, classes, projects, networking. All of these things have happened since we began participating these last few months. It’s been great to see.
Pamela - First Fridays provide an opportunity for BB2C to highlight partners as well as open the doors to community members to learn about the Epicenter makerspace. Each time, different people have stopped by and each time, connections have been made for potential instructors, people wanting to learn about workshops or making recommendations for classes and inquiring about memberships. These informal evenings have provided the opportunity for conversations that might not otherwise have occurred.
Jenny - As the newest Building Bridges to Careers staff member, First Fridays give me an opportunity to learn more about the organizations that we are working with and their staff. It's a team effort which provides many opportunities. The Buckeye Hills organization was a complete mystery to me as far as what they offer to the community, and because Gwen and Bret were with us on Friday, I now better understand their work and mission. Derrick, from The Career Center, gave me an opportunity to talk face to face about the future programs we can bring together. Then there was Woodcraft, a more recent collaborator. I am so thankful we invited them at the last minute. Not only did they offer support, but Betty and her husband set up and put together several pieces of Makerspace equipment, and shared a sense of excitement about this venture.
There are so many different examples of collaboration that have occurred because of the First Friday events organized by Marietta Main Street. Luckily for us they support the BB2C mission of building community networks that provide career awareness and devlopment for area youth. BB2C is very glad that these events exist and that we are able to be a part of such a collaborative environment that supports a wide range of area folks on many different levels. Thanks to everyone that participates, attends, shops, and finds a reason to come downtown at the beginning of every month. We'll see you in April!