#RFIFellows In Action: Ravenna Final Summary

By Ethan WeicheConnor McFaydenKori Siebert and Andromede “Andy” Uwase

As our time in Ravenna comes to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on what this experience has meant to each of us and what we are going to carry forward. It’s hard to believe that just a couple months ago, Ravenna was little more than a name on a map to us and now it has become a second home. We learned a lot from this small town, from the projects we dedicated our working hours to and the people that filled the spaces inbetween, and we are thankful that we were able to give something back to the community that welcomed us so warmly. With that, we’d like to take this last opportunity to tell you about the projects that meant the most to us. 

Kori & Andy: We have been working hard to finalize all of our projects, while also starting some new ones! Our main focus this summer has been with local businesses and marketing content. Through our interactions with business owners, we have both grown so much in the aspect of not only hearing the needs of others, but understanding where they’re coming from. We are glad that we helped bring more awareness to these businesses and to the growth of their operation in the future.

“This experience has been eye opening and transformational. I’ve learned new skills and gained experiences that can’t be taught in a classroom. If there is one thing that I will take away from this fellowship, it is that people are the most important thing. The relationships and friendships that I’ve built are so fulfilling and help grow towards progress, not only in myself but in the heart of this community.”

Kori Siebert

“I have worked this summer by contributing to Ravenna’s development and learning new marketing skills and strategies, which helped me better understand the importance of marketing for businesses. Through this experience, I have seen how young people are crucial to the development of rural communities.”

Andromede Uwase

Connor & Ethan: With most of our projects coming to a close, we’ve realized how much we’ve done for Ravenna, and in turn how much Ravenna has done for us. For example, our largest and most consistent project, landscaping the medians on Main St., will end with us submitting a final application to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, handing off our final calendar to our newly appointed garden club president, and then, waiting. Waiting because plants cannot be planted until next spring. This has taught us the value in planning for the future and thinking ahead; asking ourselves what the community members will need in the future has been a critical exercise in many of our projects.

“This experience has challenged me to think about what my actions will accomplish a year from now, 5 years from now, a decade from now. It’s difficult work to anticipate what will come in the future, especially in light of our current turbulent times, but it is crucial to achieving change in a big way.”

Connor McFayden

“This experience has been transformational in several ways, chief among which is how I have come to view ‘sustainable’ work. I am leaving Ravenna with further clarity that sustainability has as much to do with the people and those involved, as with the type of project; inspired and committed community members must be involved if a project is to have any meaningful lifespan and impact.”

Ethan Weiche