Exceptional Mpls 8th Ward leadership recognized

Paradise Garden cultivators (l-r) Samariah Shabazz, Kathleen Sullivan, Silvia Rojas, John Xavier and Saleemah Shabazz with Council Member Glidden, second from left

Elizabeth Glidden and Sandra Smith  –Photos by Kristine Heykants

By Andrea Jenkins
Contributing Writer

The Fifth Annual Eighth Ward Community Leadership Awards were presented at the monthly event “Early Mornings with Elizabeth” January 28 at Turtle Bread, 48th and Chicago. Over 50 community members enjoyed breakfast with Council Member Elizabeth Glidden on this special occasion, when outstanding community members were recognized for their inspirational leadership in service to the community.

Sandra Smith is an extraordinary volunteer, giving her time and talent for decades. Her involvement includes serving on the FRNNG board, the Field Middle School PTA and the board for Watershed High School. She volunteers with several organizations such as the Girl Scouts, Common Bond Communities, and Risen Christ Parochial School in addition to many others.

La Victoria, a program of Urban Ventures, offers fellowship and support to Latino youth. La Victoria includes outreach to families, assisting parents in negotiating the public and private school systems that serve the Central and West Phillips neighborhoods. The youth attend classes and activities and go on retreats where they work on leadership and service skills, fostering a sense of dedication and pride to the community in which they live.

Paradise Garden, located next to 3405 Chicago Avenue and the South City Café, is a grassroots community garden project that involves youth, adults, businesses and organizations growing local food and plants and creating a beautiful space for neighborhood use. This project has contributed to the continual revitalization of this once-blighted property.

Since 2007, Council Member Glidden’s office has sought resident nominations to honor great volunteers, businesses, projects and organizations that serve the Ward 8 neighborhoods of Central, Powderhorn Park, Bancroft, Bryant, Kingfield and Field-Regina-Northrup. Past recipients include: The SPEAK Project (youth arts programming focused on metal sculpture, later the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Project), Joe Senkyr-Minjares (for purchase and renovation of the Parkway Theater), and the Phelps Falcons youth football team at Phelps Park, which won a national award.

Andrea Jenkins is senior policy aide for the Eighth Ward Office. She welcomes reader responses to 612-673-2208 or andrea.jenkins@ci.minneapolis.mn.us.