By Dakota Woodlands Representative
One, two, three seemed to be the underlying theme for the recent upgrades at Dakota Woodlands (DW). Upgrades that consisted of room numbers and directional signs; number of parking signs; Doctor Seuss books of One Fish, Two Fish… and hand-crafted bookcases to shelve these classics and much more; and a beautified backyard for our children living at DW to hopscotch the day away: one, two, three…
Every one of our supporters deserves a special story about how they are making a difference in the lives of those that live at DW. Some choose to remain anonymous and others want to share their good work experiences to encourage others to reach out and help.
DW continues to get great support from the Boy Scouts of America, along with other groups, individuals, organizations, and businesses in the area. Several individuals from the Scouts have knocked on our door scoping out innovative ways to help all those that are part of the great mission of helping the homeless to transition out of homelessness to stable housing and bright futures.
Please read each individual story to learn about the amazing works of our young leaders of tomorrow; encouraged and supported by parents, mentors, and the organizations they help.
Scout Troop 9451 Apple Valley
Aaron Teuber, Eagle Scout from Troop 9451 Apple Valley, along with Eagle Scout mentor, Mark Reardon toured Dakota Woodlands this past spring. Teuber was looking for a service project that would fulfill a requirement by Boy Scouts of America to become an Eagle Scout. A service project involves planning, developing, and giving leadership to others while performing a project that benefits the community. While touring DW, Teuber identified that Dakota Woodlands didn’t have directional signs or common area(s) signage in the facility. Teuber thought changing this would benefit visitors and new residents by helping them locate services and amenities in the building without staff direction. He quickly got to work and prepared his service project proposal to present to DW. Shortly after, DW accepted the project as a beneficiary. In April of this past year, Teuber and volunteers from Troop 9451 installed 69 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant directory and directional signs that correspond with the building’s architectural floor plan. The project was well orchestrated with detailed planning. The project involved 16 scouts and 5 volunteers from the troop and 155-man hours from start to finish. Amazing!
Scout Troop 449 Eagan
Oliver Hess, an Eagle Scout candidate from Troop 449 Eagan, took on a service project that would involve the participation of the scouts and the City Of Eagan. Phase one of Hess's project was to remove the well-known invasive species, Buckthorn that was growing on the hillside of the property. Hess, with the help of other Scouts from Troop 449, spent hours cutting the Buckthorn down and stacking it to be picked up utilizing the Eagan Buckthorn Program offered by the Forestry Division of the city.
Once the Buckthorn was cleared, Hess wanted to make improvements to the two parking lots on the DW property; Hess wanted to install signs for the numerous parking stalls to designate parking for residents, staff, and visitors. Through planning, developing, and raising dollars, Hess raised enough money to install 20 new parking signs for staff and visitor parking. Two signs were made to designate one lot as resident parking and the other lot as staff and visitor parking.
The entire project involved 12 scouts and 29 volunteers from the troop that worked over 250-man hours! Whew!
Scout Troop 118 Farmington
Caden Carlson, Eagle Scout candidate from Troop 118 Farmington took on a service project that would fulfill a personal mission of his. Carlson is an avid reader and understands the healing power a book can hold. Carlson proposed to build bookshelves for DW and to supply a variety of books that people could either read and return to the bookshelves or take as their own. He worked with members of his troop and parent volunteers to make this happen. They relied on Phil Kadlec, a professional woodworker in Farmington, in guiding the troop with resources and a few pointers on craftsmanship when building the bookcases. This activity coincided with collecting books from the general public by using social media. In doing this, Carlson raised awareness of homelessness and the importance of reading. This inspired many from the community to donate over 500 books to Carlson’s mission. Dakota Electric Association also got involved by donating packing boxes for book transportation.
After the bookcases were made and placed at the shelter, the books had a place to rest and a good home in the hands of those that wanted to experience the joy of reading. “We were so happy to see the joy and excitement on the faces of the children when they saw all the books. Just to have them come in and be so excited to choose a book of their very own was so rewarding and heartwarming” said Kim Lang, grandmother of Carlson.
Scout Troop 293 Apple Valley
Jeremy Carlson, Scout from Troop 293 Apple Valley, and Paul Chellsen, President of Apple Valley Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Scoutmaster wanted to help Dakota Woodlands with yard work that beautified the backyard at the shelter. Last summer, this is exactly what happened. The team of Scouts from Troop 293 replenished the playground with 12 cubic yards of mulch, mulched flowerbeds and donated plants and shrubs to add to the existing gardens. They spent many hours working on beautifying the gardens and made a commitment to come back next spring and summer to care for them. Thanks to their effort, our children living at DW can enjoy the beautiful scenery and hopscotch the day away: one, two, three…