Firing up community engagement

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May 24, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
If you’re a transplant from another town, the Twin Cities can be a tough place to make new friends as Minnesotans have a tendency to form tight-knit social circles in grade school.

A new social networking organization called TORCH Community is hoping to make it easier for young professionals new to the area to get engaged in nonprofit work and meet new people. The group also has the goal of helping Twin Cities companies retain talented young employees from other parts of the country, said Patwin Lawrence, TORCH’s community partnership director.

The organization had its official kickoff event, “Giving 2.0: Be Your Own Foundation,” at the International Market Square on May 12. The event gave people the opportunity to learn more about TORCH’s 17 nonprofit communities in four topic areas: career and leadership development, social responsibility, diversity and the arts.

The founding companies involved in TORCH include General Mills and Wells Fargo. Organizers hope to connect 50 new people to the group’s 17 nonprofit partners. For more information on TORCH, visit


Twin Cities World Refugee Day

A major celebration on Hennepin Avenue on June 5 will honor the more than 100,000 refugees living in Minnesota.

Organizers hope to raise awareness about the issues facing refugees locally and abroad and build connections between longtime Minnesotans and newcomers to the community. They have partnered with Minneapolis MOSAIC, the annual festival celebrating the city’s diverse arts and cultural scene, on the event.

The Twin Cities World Refugee Day is from 1–6 p.m. on Hennepin, between 7th and 8th streets.

There will be music and dance performances, ethnic food vendors and a community resource fair featuring more than 60 local service providers.

The Minneapolis MOSAIC festival will follow the event, running from 6–10 p.m.

Minnesota has one of the largest refugee resettlement populations in the country. For more details on Twin Cities World Refugee Day, visit


Nate’s Word of the Day

Nate Maydole, 27, of Uptown is out with another one of his “Word of the Day” video projects.

The theme for the new video is people. His other two projects reflected on change and memory. For all of the projects, Maydole filmed himself every day of the year saying one word to string together a narrative on his chosen theme.

In the “People” video released May 1, Maydole has footage of himself all over — at a Twins game, shaving in the bathroom, in his car and near the Golden Gate Bridge, among many other spots.

“I really enjoyed how this year I got to incorporate more people from my life within the video,” Maydole said, when asked his thoughts on the new video. “It gives it deeper meaning when others can look back and see how they have changed, too. Overall, I’m very connected to each film thus far so it’s really hard to say that I like one more than the other.”

He’s already working on his next video, which is all about adventure. “Adventure meaning trying new things, going to new places and being open to new experiences,” he said.

To see Maydole’s videos, visit


Bike Walk Week 2010

Now that Minneapolis boasts the title of the country’s best bike city, according to Bicycling magazine, one would expect a lot of interest in Bike Walk Week 2010.

There are all sorts of celebrations planned to honor people who pedal and walk to work during the week set for June 5–11.

For more information on events lined up for the week, go to