Saturday was the day to be in the Old West End if you were looking for FREE food, FREE access to services, FREE smiles, FREE fun, and FREE meet your neighbor day!

It was a day where community leaders and neighbors came together at Grace Community Center to share in the commonalities of eating, easy music listening, fellowship and good ole camaraderie.

As the day moved on, the neighbors gathered on the grounds of Grace to welcome their family, friends, co-workers, employees, volunteers, and well wishers to a day filled with commonalities. It was evident that the message resonated loud and clear to the participants. On this day many voices were being heard. They came, they shared, and they left happy. Hot dogs, pulled pork, chips, pop, water and the likes, made for a great day to come together to enhance neighborhoods, showcase services and share stories with your neighbors in a meaningful manner.

Elaine Tate Page, Executive Director of Grace Community Center, shared some of the services that are offered by the Center and urges the community to get with what is going on for the children at Grace. She shared one of the initiatives that the Center offers in partnering with schools where 52 students will be mentored during the summer; they will follow them throughout graduation from high school. She shared that Grace will be a part of their lives academically, promoting college attendance, as they are future leaders in our community. .

Also available at Grace will be Edu Camp, an 8 week camp, June 12 - August 12th, at a nominal cost, of $53.00 per week. It will focus on Math and Reading so that the students will at least maintain and hopefully increase learning. Other programs on the agenda at Grace that they will be implementing is with Senior citizens who will teach 6. 7, and 8th graders The Art of Gardening , partnering with Nathan McCain and the City of Toledo who will lend their talent with the youth. She stated that the center is always looking for volunteers and if interested the phone number is 419.248.2467, 9 to 5 daily or visit the website at gcctoledo.org

Community partners were also on the scene to share their services and mission with those who attended. Brenda Sawyers, Chairperson for the event had this to say about the activities for the day and the mission of O.W.E.N.I. " today is a give back day to neighbors. The goal of this day was to show unity in the community by coming together bridging the community. O.W.E.N.I. is a group of residents who are concerned about Old West End/Overland Park Neighborhood issues and concerns. Sawyers state that the reason for the group is "Because we are interested in WORKING TOGETHER FOR A BETTER COMMUNITY, TO BRING ABOUT A POSITIVE CHANGE"!

Some of the projects that the group has been responsible for are: Installation of Mural at Parisian Cleaners, Land redevelopment at Central & Detroit Avenues, Free house painting for senior residents, Unity in the Community clean up, Youth Grass cutting Team, and Toledo T Town clean up. The event was sponsored by NeighborWorks TOLEDO REGION and hosted by O.W.E.N.I. and Cherry Street Legacy. If you are interested in helping this cause, you are welcome to attend monthly community meetings at Kent branch library, the third Thursday at 6 PM. O.W.E.N.I. can be contacted at 419.324.9894. Hats off to Ms. Brenda Sawyers and the Leadership of O.W.E.N.I. for a great event supporting the community!

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