Jamming poolside with DJs and roasting marshmallows with hula-hooping fire dancers aren’t typical weekend activities, but that’s all the more reason to get behind the micro-granting pilot project Make Something Oliver. Inspired by Make Something Edmonton—the campaign and website that’s helped support over 600 projects since 2012—the Oliver Community League’s version recently awarded four people or groups with $1,000 to fund a community-focused project. The inaugural year was so successful that the OCL will continue the project into 2016. These winning 2015 proposals give you an idea of what’s to come.
Decks on Decks
Every Sunday in August, from early afternoon to late evening, local DJs brought their decks to the deck of the Oliver Outdoor Pool and replaced the regular radio. “What we saw was a new take on a traditional and established part of the community,” says Decks on Decks organizer Keith Andony, a medical professional. He felt the pool was a great but underused neighbourhood amenity that could benefit more residents by welcoming artists and making the most of those long summer nights.
Light the Night Oliver
You may have noticed, one late September night, Peace Garden Park alight with paper lanterns. That was the brainchild of Justin Keats, who’s also the OCL’s garden director. Throughout the day, families partook in lantern-making workshops and hula-hooping lessons, while enjoying marshmallow roasts and a fiery performance by TransFlowmation, a local circus-dance troupe. The weather was rainy, but dozens still came for fun and neighbourliness. “There’s a lot of stress and worry and just trying to keep tabs on everything,” recalls Justin Keats of the lead up to the event. But compared to what he put into it, he says what he got out of it as a community member was invaluable.
Sometimes there are already great initiatives underway in the neighbourhood—they just need a little help growing. The Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network used its micro-grant for a fall barbecue promoting MOVE Edmonton, a free,weekly fitness program for residents of any age. “We’re trying to reduce some barriers,” says Matthew Kallio of the nonprofit operating out of the Allin Clinic, “barriers of cost, barriers of fear of injury, barriers of not knowing where to get started.” That’s why the program is fully equipped with an onsite family physician and kinesiologist.
Where the Heart is Whole
The Oliver-based choir Accord Vocal Ensemble has just begun its 2015–16 season and, thanks to the MSO grant, can commission an original piece from a local composer for “Where the Heart is Whole,” its season-closer concert in June. “Musical collaboration is really important to keep the excitement alive and share different things,” says choir president Isabelle Gallant. Accord Ensemble will also work with the Breath in Poetry Collective, which has its spoken word every Tuesday at RoseBowl Pizza.