Creation of a nonprofit and a social movement can be two different things. In the case of ReInvision Huntingdon, it became one initiative that is near and dear to my heart. In the fall of 2015 I began researching and identifying local organization in my hometown of Huntingdon. There were plenty of local initiatives focusing on food, civic engagement, drop-in needs, abuse networks, art nonprofits, landmark and historical societies, parks and roads, etc. But, there was not a single organization focused solely on overall Community Revitalization.

ReInvision Huntingdon (RIH) was started in the fall of 2015 as an “independent group of activists seeking community input to enrich Huntingdon.” By the spring of 2016 the organization  became a nonprofit with a board of directors and focused on community revitalization through public discussion meetings.

For me, this project directly ties in my professional goals of the Community Design Ecosystem, community revitalization through connected networks, and design for good with my personal goals to see a more beautiful and revitalized town.

WTAJ News Story coverage of the Huntingdon Community Food and other ReInvision initiatives.

About ReInvision 2016:

As a woman run organization, Ryan brings her education based on creativity and communication, her drive to see revitalization through positive community partnerships, and a fascination for unique community input. “Starting a nonprofit was never a part of my 5 year plan once returning to PA. However, I began realizing that I had knowledge and experience from past revitalization initiatives that I was not sharing with my community.”

A few of our recent accomplishments include the first full year of the Small Projects Big Ideas Grant, the creation of the Huntingdon Community Food Garden, multiple Public Community Discussion meetings, the Vacant Spaces of Huntingdon social media campaign, in addition to assisting Huntingdon Borough Mayor Brown in revitalizing the Boomtown initiative led by borough merchants to create and facilitate borough based events.

The first year of the Small Projects Big Ideas grant funded five projects totaling $2,400 of local beautification endeavors. RIH worked to facilitate and accept the grant submissions that were shared with local donors in a blind review process. Many awesome project submissions were received in our first year. We look forward to continuing to offer the grant to locals in addition to the overall beautification that will acquire over time.

Three Public Community Discussion meetings were held in 2016 with attendees vastly ranging in age and demographics. Following a spring 2016 RIH Discussion meeting, a small team of garden and food enthusiasts emerged. This team worked to create a proposal focusing on educational gar-den programming, planting workshops, harvesting instruction, and food preservation demonstrations.

The Huntingdon Community Center and Borough of Huntingdon accepted this partnership proposal with RIH and work began in the spring of 2016 to revitalize the vacant elementary school yard. The Huntingdon Community Food Garden was able to donate over $1,100 of sustainably grown produce back to local organizations that feed our community. In early 2017 ReInvision received approval to expand the garden to the other side of the property. The garden is located at 5th and Moore Streets and is growing quickly as a positive community initiative being featured on local evening news stations in addition to print publications.

In our first year RIH has heard first hand  from the Huntingdon community that their initiatives and public discussion meetings have sparked positive vibrations among local organizations, elected officials, and educational institutions. This positive energy is a key part of our mission to facilitate community development by creating a positive atmosphere to share ideas and to strengthen our community through project based revitalization. Over the next decade Ryan and the ReInvision Huntingdon team hope to inspire others to see places we can continue the revitalize. Over time we can all contribute to the building a vibrant community in Huntingdon through various revitalization initiatives, projects, and programing brought to you by ReInvision Huntingdon. Working together as a community we are stronger. We look forward to being a local staple for positive revitalization initiatives in the Huntingdon area.