#RFIFellows in Action: Arapahoe

The RFI team visited Arapahoe! From left: Kim Peterson, Kate Warner, Aline Abayo, Megan Tofflemire, Angie Moore, Samantha Guenther, Helen Fagan

By Aline Abayo and Megan Tofflemire

The last couple of weeks have been quiet and busy at the same time. Some of the projects we shared with you in the recent update are now coming to an end. We have two brochures ready to be printed and sent to the community, and the entrepreneurship competition is scheduled on this Friday, July 24. We are happy to see some finished products from our work so far, and we look forward to seeing our other projects come to fruition!

Since we last wrote, we have been working on two beautification projects which are now in their implementation stage. One of these projects was organizing a community mural that could make people stop and appreciate what Arapahoe has to offer. We have been working closely with artists from IMPACT Art to create a design that is modern, meaningful to the community, and gorgeous. The support from the community, along with the City Council, has been extremely helpful and encouraging. 

The second beautification project was planning to get 16 planters filled with beautiful plant life in our downtown business district in an effort to create a more inviting appearance. After pitching our ideas to the City Council, we have gotten support for both of these projects to be funded by our community LB840 money. We are incredibly excited to see how these projects turn out!

In an attempt to make our community more beautiful, we didn’t stop in our downtown. We have been working with an outstanding member of the community Nate Swanson, who was kind enough to help us create a community video that shows the beauty of Arapahoe. Last week, our team met Nate and flew a drone around the city to take videos and photos. The community members are sending in beautiful pictures of town to be in the video. Currently, Nate is busy editing and putting together all parts. 

Moreover, we have been helping businesses with their online presence. We helped business owners create and manage google my business accounts, Facebook pages, Shopify accounts, and other marketing and selling websites depending on the type of the business. We weren’t experts in this field, but we had to learn and make sure that we have as much information available for business owners. Grow Nebraska’s presentation at the Arapahoe Chamber of Commerce explained how important it is to have businesses’ information out there and had some of them reach out to us afterward for us to help them with their accounts.

“I think that this experience has created a very rare outcome. There has been a mutual benefit for not only the community but also us as fellows. I think it’s really interesting when the community members tell us that we are bringing a new spark and a lively energy to the community. For me the community has created a parallel impact on my spirit. I feel as though a fire has been lit under me, inspiring a restored passion for community.”

Megan Tofflemire

With only 2 weeks left, we have started coming up with plans to make sure that the team that will take over the projects will understand what our goals were and what we wanted the community to gain from them. We plan on making reports of how we did all the projects we worked on, and how they can manage them in the future. 

“Coming up with ideas is the easiest part of the process; everyone can do that. However, making sure that those ideas change people’s lives is what makes us unique.”

Aline Abayo

To conclude, the last few weeks have been full of learning moments for both of us. We hope that our ideas and projects will inspire members of this community to work together and continue to make Arapahoe grow in the future!