Five Highland Park community service initiatives created by Highland Park residents each won a $2,000 grant from Park Partners – a Highland Park Borough-sponsored, “give-back” program for its residents. More than 250 Highland Park residents selected the winners from a pool of 12 projects in a competitive voting session on February 17, 2019. The grant winners are tasked with completing a project that serves the needs and interests of the Highland Park residents.
“I’m so impressed with the mix of projects supported by our residents and awarded Park Partners grants,” said Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler. “Our 2019 Park Partners grants will advance environmental protection, engage residents in arts initiatives, help decrease hunger, support local non-profits, and increase cultural awareness. I commend the organizers of these projects and look forward to seeing their wonderful efforts blossoming throughout the Borough.”
Here is information on each of the grant winners.
The Lion Dance is a vital element of Asian culture, implying good fortune, and is performed for occasions such as store openings, weddings, and Lunar New Year celebrations. The Highland Park High School (HPHS) Annual Lunar New Year Party (sponsored by the Community Teen Center) has a tradition of Lion Dancing, yet in the recent years they have had difficulties borrowing the Lion Dance costumes. They decided to acquire a Lion Dance costume for the Highland Park community with help from the Park Partners Grant. Opportunities will be available for volunteers to learn and perform the Lion Dance and have the Lion Dance as part of their cultural events.
UNIFI, an organization run by two HPHS students, Jessica Wu and Rachel Powlen, has a mission of supporting local, struggling nonprofit organizations through marketing, technological, and financial assistance. During the past year, UNIFI worked with the Global Grace Cafe to create social media, buy kitchen equipment, and design, print, and distribute pamphlets to help them better serve our community. This year, UNIFI plans to continue supporting the cafe and reaching out to other community service organizations.
In the Cutting Out Hunger service club at the HPHS, members sort and organize coupons to purchase discounted food in bulk. The Park Partners grant, the group will be able to purchase thousands of items at very low prices. Donating this food will support local food pantries and help Highland Park families in need. (pictured)
The “Yes We Can!” project from Sustainable Highland Park is an environmental awareness campaign. Through posters, this project will alert residents to the actions that individual citizens can take to reduce our negative impact on the environment.
The Highland Park Town-Wide Mural project is a community-based public art project that will engage professional artists and community supporters and residents in the creation of a mural that will reflect the diversity of the borough. The purpose is to strengthen community relationships, beautify our area, and increase visits to our local eateries and businesses.