By Rachel Hultin
Do you love where you live? Most people are quick to answer “yes” but often don’t know why or how to get more involved. Wheaties Academy was created to empower residents who are looking for a fun and meaningful way to step up and to take action with other passionate neighbors.
Launched in 2015, this innovative grassroots leadership program is hosted by Localworks and designed to turn inspiration into ideas and then to turn ideas into action from the ground up right here in Wheat Ridge. Over the course of five months, Wheaties Academy participants connect with artists, business owners, neighbors, civic leaders, rabble rousers, mentors and other Wheaties to explore what it means to love where you live and how to build community by working together.
We start by learning more about our city’s heritage and how big ideas from 50 years ago created the community we love today. From there, we explore corners in need of some love and find people in need of connection. Wheaties harness these to design and implement a community project demonstrating how we all love where we live.
Make no mistake, figuring out how to make a difference from the ground up is challenging. But when you work with peers who care as much about your city as you do, the work is rewarding and fruitful. Past projects have included the Connect2Creek mural and #WheatiesLove campaign.
The Wheaties Academy application asks applicants to define community. It’s an important question and one we should all ask ourselves. Below is a response from a 2016 Wheaties graduate which I think captures our city and the value of Wheaties Academy:
“Community is a place that people enjoy living, working, supporting each other and improving the area. Community is where we come together to encourage each other, promote each other’s well being, care for one another and appreciate life together. Community is also where we learn from each others differences and respect diversity.”
We invite you to become part of the Wheaties Academy community! Applications for the 2018 Wheaties Academy being accepted through Dec. 18. The program runs Jan. 23 through June 19, 2018, including six interactive sessions, a retreat and extracurricular activities.
For more information and to apply visit: www.WheatiesAcademy.org or attend the informational happy hour on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Discovery Tap House (4990 Kipling St.) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Rachel Hultin is the founder of Wheaties Academy.