What is Urbanworks

Urbanworks is an opportunity at the very least. An opportunity to continue the type of community engagement that we have been doing. An opportunity to share with others some of our experiences and to start creating new ones. An opportunity to teach, guide and mentor youth.

We have been fortunate enough to have worked in the 5 neighborhoods of the Grandview Corridor in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. For the last seven and a half years we have worked with residents and volunteers to create engagement projects in each neighborhood. Creating neutral spaces for people to gather, and get to know one another. To talk about their ideas and what the concerns are for their neighborhoods.

We have been able to use different types of engagement tools such as art classes, ceramics, and a sculpture park to help make the arts accessible to all members of our community and with all abilities. We built a community garden and an urban farm where elementary school children helped to grow food for their neighbors and the school. Installed park enhancements like trees, flowers, benches and made all assets ADA accessible. Provided programming for the park like soccer clinics, walking clubs, and art classes. And we helped launch the first coffee shop in our downtown in 30 years. The Cafe’ has become a central gathering space for downtown meetings, special events, with friendly service and great coffee.

Those are some of our past experiences from which we learned a great deal. Now we are ready for new challenges and new experiences. We will be working in new communities but realize there is still much to do in our own community.  One of the first projects we hope to start soon is the acquisition of a 1940’s Conoco Station. The goal is to restore the original look of the station, with liberties of course, and then begin on the interior. Next year we hope to begin programming out of the space and eventually put in a greenhouse. But first things first, it’s time to sign some contracts.




Attachment: A Letter for a Friend…..

I have been thinking a lot about the difference between loving someone and having an attachment to someone. They are not the same and we cause ourselves pain when we think they are. Attachments can grow out of love for someone but attachments take on their own view of what is right or wrong for someone.

Love is beautiful; it’s caring and giving. It makes you feel warm, at home and comfortable, at peace. Love is supportive, nurturing, and inspiring. It helps us feel whole and happy about who we are and where we are going. In my mind, it is the true expression of who we are and the gift that has been given to us by our maker. It is heaven!

Attachments are confused with love because they focus our emotions on a person or thing. Let’s say you are a football fan. You love watching football. You watch the games and regardless of who wins the game, you feel good because you love football. When you attach to one team and their failures cause you pain you scream, kick the dog, yell at the kids and break your wife’s best china – that’s not a love of the game. That’s all of your attachments blowing up cause ‘your team’ let you down. They didn’t make good decisions on the field. If only you could have been there to ‘call the right plays and catch the tough pass’ – right?

Attachments are controlling devices for altering other people’s behavior. We want to alter their behavior for various reasons but usually because we do not trust them to make a good decision without us there. That’s not love, it’s distrust, and you aren’t allowing them to have the ‘Free Will’ that has been given to them at birth. You, we, are trying to make them something that they may not be or may not want to be regardless of what they tell you. We usually feel that we are the one, and maybe the only one, to help them overcome their challenges. To help them to be what ’we’ want them to be. To live up to the potential that we see in them, or to form them into the perfect person. At the very least, so that they are less self-destructive. That’s not love, that’s manipulation.

At some point, you have to let our attachments make their own decisions. We can guide them, influence them, punish them, yell at them or just cry. But shouldn’t our goal be to trust their decisions? To trust that they will make the right decisions to improve their lives when we are not around? I mean, doesn’t everyone have to grow up sometime? Be responsible for themselves? They can’t do that if we don’t allow them to make their own decisions. It will always be up to us to fix them if we don’t set them free.

They will face the consequences of bad decisions and they will reap the rewards of good decisions. It’s really not up to us. ONLY THEY CAN alter the course of their actions and change their lives in doing so. Attachments are not love because they cause us pain and loving relationships should not be about pain.