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Our Turley/NorthTulsa Area June 26 Orchard Event, Community Health Focus, and More This Summer

What a great summer is underway in the far northside 74126 and 74130 zipcodes. Here is your invitation to events coming up, and updates, and opportunities to be a part of our mission of renewing community, empowering residents, and growing healthy lives and neighborhoods, through small acts of justice done with great love.

First, the Big News:
You and others are invited to attend the public event on Sunday, June 26 beginning at noon here at 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. as we are joined by the National Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Edy's Fruit Bars marking the planting of the new orchard that day that was recently won in a national competition for our emerging Welcome Table KitchenGardenPark.

While we were not happy with the selection of the day for beginning the orchard and festivities, which was picked by the organizations sponsoring the national competition, we will be making it a momentus day for the far northside anyway as we combat food deserts and blight in our area with this project we have called the "miracle among the ruins." We hope you will be there, to receive our thanks for your support, and to see the latest developments, and enjoy the festivities, and tell others, and dream of ways to partner with the park and duplicate it elsewhere.

It is hard to believe that just one year ago we were still trying vigorously to raise the funds to buy the rundown abandoned property from N. Kenosha to Johnstown and 60th to 61st Streets atop a hill from where you can see downtown Tulsa and other landmarks. We not only were able to raise the funds, but used the property to help us buy another bigger more historic rundown abandoned church building in our area and turn it into a community center asset, and then this Spring we managed to garner enough online support to win the orchard in the first round of voting at

While we will be there all day with volunteers working on the site with the arborist from the Fruit Tree Foundation (and we hope you will join us anytime from 8 am on), we will pause at noon for the announcements and recognitions and words of support. Edy's Fruit Bars will be giving away free fruit bars, building a bench for the site to commemorate the occasion, and the arborist will be unveiling the fruit trees planted and turning on the irrigation system installed by the foundation, and then he will be conducting a free public workshop for our residents on fruit tree planting and care. The trees are being purchased from local nursery Worley's in north Tulsa County.

We have been installing and planting community garden beds already as well as preparing the site at the park for the orchard section. We also are hoping we can announce the awarding of a new grant too, which we have applied for in partnership with local Freedom Bank and with the help of the USDA Tallgrass RC&D, but even if it is otherwise we will be able to show the vision of what will be coming.

I, unfortunately, had previous travel and work plans for the end of June and will be unable to be there (which is a double shame since it is my birthday too), all the more reason why I hope you will come and support one another and residents, and contact Bonnie Ashing as park project leader and coordinator of the event If you have questions or rsvps, please contact her at or 918 346 3475. Please feel free to forward this on to others in your associations as well.

Again, at a time when governments are shutting parks and community centers, we are growing our own from the grassroots for the grassroots.

In Other News:
Summer Cafe at Cherokee
We managed to get the Summer Cafe program to be held at Cherokee School again this summer under our supervision and we are operating it from June 8 to Aug. 5 because we are a community organization and not dependent on school staff to operate it on their schedule. Already we are seeing more children and youth than we had the past two years. Free lunch for anyone in the world, we say, who is 18 or under at the school cafeteria, 6001 N. Peoria Ave., from 11:30 to 12:30.

Austin Guests Serving Our Area
We were joined recently by members of Wildflower Church in Austin as we cleared the park site for the orchard, as we put together some of the garden beds for the park, as we created the new Prairie Trails native plant Park right across the street from our new community park, as we built the Muhammad Ali Peace Garden at the community center, as we beautified and cleaned up the major welcome intersection on North Lewis and 66th St., as we planted a garden bed with residents at Sarah's Residential Living Center near McLain High School, and worked on projects at the center itself. We are looking forward to a group coming from Dallas at the end of July. Groups for a day or more are always welcome to come learn and serve.

Partnerships for Health With OU
In July we will be partnering with OU Community Health to conduct health attitude surveys in our area, something that will also benefit residents economically with incentives for taking the survey, along with local businesses where the incentives will be good for. This is the initial public step in our movement toward launching the community health worker program in north and west Tulsa, a project we have been working on with OU for a few years now, even when we had the clinic; now that the clinics have been closed in north Tulsa this project is more needed than ever, and will help radically reshape health care delivery by creating neighborhood health mentors for those who are the most frequent users of the emergency rooms and urgent care.
One of the places and partnerships for our health attitude surveys will be at the annual summer carnival for the YWCA northside and Tulsa Health Dept. Saturday July 16 from 11 am to 2 pm, at the YWCA on 54th and N. Madison. Come support this free fun for all carnival and get great health information and screenings and see our booth.
We are also working to set up in July our community health care conversations at our center again this summer with neighborhood residents and with summer interns from OU. These are always educational conversations for all. More info as we get the dates set.
And we had a very good poverty consciousness raising workshop with local residents and the incoming graduate social work students at OU which we helped coordinate and held at O'Brien Recreation Center recently.

Meetings and Movies and More
We hosted and helped to coordinate recent meetings to create a leadership and planning focus group to concentrate on issues of how to attack the growing problems of abandoned commercial and residential properties in our unincorporated side, how to create a plan for growth and community vision here north of 56th St. in the wake of the closing of the Cherokee School, and how to bring conditions of unhealthy and blighted sites to the attention of the county commissioners and departments. We are looking again at steps toward incorporation, not as an end in itself, but as a possible means to the bigger end of community renewal. Attacking the numerous abandoned and dangerous sites near our children is the common top project for this new leadership group. Our next planning meeting will be at the Center Aug. 4. Also remember the Turley community association meeting is Tuesday June 28 at 7 pm at O'Brien Recreation Center. Congratulations to Northridge Neighborhood Association for its first meeting this past week for the area around McLain High.

....Speaking of Cherokee, and Alcott also, in our service area which were both closed as Tulsa public schools, we have met with area legislators to explore options on how to keep the buildings in community use.

We had a wonderful time hosting and watching and discussing the live webstream from the Childrens Defense Fund and the documentary on PBS about the Freedom Riders during the 50th anniversary of that pivotal time in civil rights history. We also again sponsored a public showing of the Dorothy Day Story movie Entertaining Angels and related it to our work and vision here. And we were once again one of the few presences from our whole northside area, along with the YWCA northside, in the Tulsa Pride Parade and Festivities sponsored by the Equality Center.

We have supported and will continue promoting the North Tulsa Farmers Market at Tulsa Community College NE campus on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 pm and Saturday mornings on 56th St. between Highway 75 and N. Lewis. We have our ongoing Neighborhood Safety group the last Thursdays of the month; weekly recovery 12 step groups, our clothing and food pantry (our computer center is temporarily shut down as the computers are in need of updating and repairing, stay tuned for relaunch news in July).

And we worship on Sunday mornings with conversation and common meal and service to others for all who are interested in a free universalist Christian missional community. The next two Sundays we will "be the church" in the park as we gather to serve and celebrate and prepare for the Orchard Event.

Be a partner with us in person and/or through donating to make all this happen; no one draws a salary; one hundred percent into mission; go to and donate; you can use debit/credit cards as paypal is not required.

Thanks, blessings, and more to come,

Ron Robinson
Executive Director, A Third Place Community Foundation, operating among its many projects The Welcome Table Community Center and The Welcome Table KitchenGardenPark
renewing community, empowering residents, growing healthy lives and neighborhoods
5920 N. Owasso, Turley, OK 74126

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