Cobblestone Project

Locations: P.O. Box 1246, Bentonville
Phone: 479-553-9005
Website: http://www.cobblestoneproject.org

About:  The Cobblestone Project was founded in April 2008 by a small group of NW Arkansas families who were committed to putting their faith into action with the hope of making a meaningful difference in their community.  This action was based on the belief that every person has a unique and immeasurable value because of our shared human story.  It is this story that is defined by a movement towards the renewal and restoration of the image that all people were created for a purpose.  Every human heart deserves dignity, respect and the opportunity to fully realize this purpose.  Unfortunately, in situations of poverty this image becomes devalued and often unnoticed.  It is this place that we begin our journey of being a part of the renewal and restoration of humanity.

The dream of the Cobblestone Project is to work towards “A Community Without Need.”  The strategy to take these ideas and turn them into action will be approached by 1) Identifying Issues of Social Justice, 2) Connecting Needs with Willing Resources and 3) Fulfilling Needs with Sustainable Solutions.  The dream or vision of the Cobblestone Project is likely considered unachievable.  However, when the concepts of community are redefined to expose and frame the true needs of our neighbors, change is the only natural response.

Core Values:  What principles guide us and can also be used in times of uncertainty?

Humanity – We believe there is a fundamental dignity in human life that must be restored and preserved so that we all may live.  Among all of us there exists certain commonality.  We all have value.  We all have worth.  We all have purpose.  We all have potential.  However, many live in the shadow of “life” that continually tells them otherwise.  As we serve, we strive to engage others in the light of who they are created to be.  Our hope is that they too embrace this vision of life restored and serve others in the same way.

Consistent Demonstration of Joy – We believe that joy is the natural expression of a life lived in the pursuit of serving others.  Our overall posture and demeanor through our service is one of sincere joy.  Because we view our initiatives as valid investments in the lives of others, what appears to be a simple to-do list becomes an opportunity for life change.  Life change sparks our joy which fuels our passion to invest more.  We work not out of obligation or need for personal recognition, but from a genuine heart to see needs met.  Our desire is that those who serve with us find joy in areas where they may not have passion and find passion in areas where they already have joy.

Selfless Advocate for the Voiceless – We believe that those without a voice can only be restored when it is our voice that is used to echo their cry.  The cries of the voiceless can be heard in the places we pass by every day.  The places that the orphan calls home, in the loneliness of the widow, and the coldness of the cardboard box of the homeless.  We believe the world sees the heard of God when people come to their aid and plead on their behalf.  Not for our recognition, but for their restoration.

Creative Expressions of Community Engagement – As community forms and develops, we believe creative approaches to solving issues of social justice provide context, engagement and ownership.  We believe a need can be met by encouraging relationships between those that are serving and those being served in order to build a community of concern and support.  The best solutions will be expressed in an approach to these age old problems that is made relevant to our culture’s values and traditions.

Builds a Community Family First – A restored community begins with the continual reinforcement of the family foundation.  Since community cannot fully exist without the meaningful contribution of its members, each initiative expression should be active in bringing people together in a manner that encourages participation and relationships that work toward the benefit of the whole.  The core of each community begins with the family, and priority must always be given to establishing and maintaining the community’s core.

Storytellers of Hope – We believe that all people share a common story of the pursuit of life.  Hope propels us forward and so it must be shared so that others continue forward.  The struggle to define what it means to be human is our common story.  It is our contribution to this story that defines who we are and what kind of community we are building.  As we progress in this story to pursue restored humanity; hope emerges.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to share these stories where hope is real so others may know it exists.

Empowered Individuals – We believe that every person can be a tremendous catalyst in contributing to meeting the needs of a community.  It is only by supporting these efforts will people be motivated to become part of the solution.  One person can make a difference.  Whether you have a unique skill set or just a willing heart, you can be the difference for life change.  When a need is met, a life has the opportunity to change, to break the cycle of self, and see a greater world that lies ahead.  Our hope would be that the changed life is not just those that have their need met, but of those meeting the need.

Initiatives:  In order to accomplish our goals in the community, we have various courses of action.

The Farm is designed to use agriculture to help the under-resourced in our community by focusing on six strategic pillars to include: Hunger Relief, Education, Economic Development, Community, Food Production and Sustainability.

Laundry Love Projects partner with local laundromats in cleaning the clothes of those living in shelters, motels, cars, garages and on the streets.  It is our mission to take laundromats and convert them into hubs of relief, granting reprieve to those living in oppressive poverty.

Our Step is a collaborative housing initiative started by Seven Hills Homeless Shelter, Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Samaritan Community Center, the University of Arkansas Community & Family Institute and the Cobblestone Project to provide people and families a point for breaking the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence by eliminating the initial costs to secure affordable housing.
The mission of 3 Bags in 2 Days  is to provide bags of basic necessities to those living in poverty.  Through the bag, we hope to offer a sense of dignity, respect and a little relief to those in our community who may be without.  Our hope is that through the giving and receiving of a basic necessities bag, we can provide for immediate needs, connect them with area resources and offer a little bit of hope.  We believe one of the first steps in ending poverty is acknowledging that it exists, and through the exchange of bag we recognize a person’s need and worth.

Gathering & Distribution teams are responsible for collecting and sourcing food from community partners to be used in feeding the hungry in our communities.  Distribution helpers are asked to distribute the prepared food to local points of distribution to include (but not limited to): local housing shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, Cobblestone Project initiatives, etc.

Shear Kindness was created to provide those in our community who are under-resourced or victims of domestic violence the opportunity to receive a professional haircut.  However, thisis about more than a haircut.  This is about being a small part of participating in the process of healing and restoration.  It’s about dignity and the belief that all people possess intrinsic worth and deserver unconditional respect, regardless of age, sex, health status, social or ethnic origin, political ideas, religion, or criminal history.  There is a beautiful image inside very person, and we are pursuing it to draw it out.

The D.C. (distribution & collection) are the collective efforts of the Cobblestone Project to collect and distribute the staple items needed by the under-resourced in our communities.  Additionally, the D.C. support collection of furniture and household items for Our Step, processing of food from The Farm and hope of 3 Bags in 2 Days.  Items such as socks, hygiene items, blankets, sleeping bags, underwear, gloves, hats, etc. are common needs of all shelters and those in need.  Through individuals, business, faith communities and families, we can meet the needs in our community to provide much needed relief.

The Café (formally known as The Garden) describes the efforts of the Cobblestone Project to feed our hungry neighbors by supporting local soup kitchens.  This initiative began from the vision of Rick & Cindy Boosey, former owners of World Garden, to use their local restaurant to provide meals to the hungry in Northwest Arkansas.
point8 is an initiative encouraging you to volunteer just 0.8% of your 5,840 waking hours each year, spending 48 hours a year helping those around you.  That’s approximately 4 hours a month.  4 hours a month supporting a local non-profit organization can dramatically change the services and support these agencies can provide.  4 hours a month helping them, helps the community.  Would you consider making a commitment of 4 hours a month to support a local cause?

The Green Room is a place of rest and peace for the purposes of creating, preparing and planning for any upcoming event that is meant to express beauty.  Our desire is to take this concept and use it to prepare, plan and create expressions and actions to help those in need.  Ideally, this Green Room will continue to grow until everyone in our community is united and it becomes a place where no need exists.
We know that being “Present in the City” may be one of the most difficult things to do; however, we believe that loving and serving our community begins with being fully present and attentive to the needs of those in need of hope.  “Present in the City” gatherings are the moments that we chose to pause, to celebrate and to be an intentional community serving our community.

Volunteer Opportunities:  The Cobblestone Project has many opportunities for you to get involved with any of their great initiatives.  Be sure to contact them directly to find out where you can specifically take part with them in the journey of the renewal and restoration of humanity.