What a difference a week makes. The previous Saturday it was snowing and raining, but yesterday the weather was perfect for a picnic. Thank you, Lord!
With the jumping castles arriving a little late, things got off to a bit of a slow start, but with the great weather and the smell of burgers in the air, a crowd slowly started to gather. It probably did not hurt that a few days earlier we distributed more than 800 fliers around the neighborhood or that our neighborhood elementary school stuffed 512 of our fliers in the back packs of all of their students. Hard to count how many people came, but we know we served 370 hamburgers and 250 hotdogs, so maybe 300 plus. Part of the entertainment was also proved by street artist, Hector, who painted the attached painting in about 1 hour as we watched. Last year, Hector painted the word “DREAM” for us. Can you read this year’s word? If you cannot read it and want to know, just email me. (No fun telling you without even trying :-).
But the best thing about this year’s Neighborhood Party was the opportunity it gave Flourish East Colfax (FEC) – in which ROP partners with Agape Missionary Church in our neighborhood and 4 other organizations more broadly – to engage more people in our Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) process. Gathering in the park, watching kids play and enjoying freshly grilled hamburgers and hotdogs was the perfect setting to talk about Flourish East Colfax’s mission of making our neighborhood a better place to live and work and to invite people to get involved and come to our next Neighborhood Meeting on May 10th.
Many participants responded quite positively to the invitation to get involved and all seemed thankful just to be there. My favorite reaction came from a lady who has lived on the western edge of the park for 8 years. She remembered seeing last year’s “Neighborhood Party”, but did not join us. This year, she chose to take a chance and see what we were up to. After experiencing the positive energy of the event and hearing why we were having the party, she told one of our FEC partners that she was so excited it gave her goose bumps.
Truly, it all made for a great day with a special shout out of thanks to the International Section from Cherry Hills Community Church who did much of the hard work of set-up, clean-up, food preparation and service and monitoring the games and jumping castles for the kids. This was a huge blessing as it freed up us FEC types to engage with our attendees, get to know them a little better and invite them to our May 10th Nieghborhood Meeting.
Of course, with ROP’s Annual Dinner comming up this Friday, May 4th, I also want to take this opportunity to make a “final” invitation for you to join us. In addition to celebrating the last 10 years of God’s faithfulness to ROP’s ministry, we will be anticipating some of the directions God is leading us as ROP moves forward and especially in the area of Community Development. See below for the time and place*. If you decide to come, please RSVP to [email protected] by Tuesday evening.
To see more photos from Saturday’s Neighborhood Party click on this link.