Serve Noblesville Volunteers

Impactful Initiative

The mission of Serve Noblesville is to connect people by bringing area assets in line with community wants and needs. Since its formation in 2012, its best-known program has been Serve Week. Two other initiatives, Come Together and FUN Fest, are continuing to grow. In addition, the organization has plans to enhance the charm of the City of Noblesville.

“Serve Noblesville might just be our community’s best-kept secret,” says Serve Noblesville Executive Director Patrick Propst. “Serve Week is held the last week in June, and it mobilizes the largest group of volunteers for a single push in Hamilton County. We haven’t found one bigger that involves such a large amount of concentrated effort and sweat equity in four days. It involves a thousand people over 5,000 hours.”

Serve Week is comprised of about 100 different projects led by nonprofits, municipalities, neighborhoods and individuals. It’s not meant to be long term, but rather one-and-done actions. Serve Noblesville assists by connecting an undertaking with equipment, city permits, volunteers, or even something like a place to haul off unwanted materials.

“An example of a Serve Week project was the dismantling of an old garage that was falling in on itself,” says Propst. “It was a hazard to the Plum Prairie neighborhood. The Noblesville High School football team loaded the salvage into trailers, which were transported to a local landfill.”

This year Serve Week will be held June 26 to 29, with a kickoff on June 25 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. The week involves general projects such as painting, mulching, mural painting, gardening, light construction and neighborhood beautification. Individuals, groups or neighborhoods can submit their projects by filling out an application on Serve Noblesville’s website. All applications must be submitted no later than May 31.

Come Together Week wraps around Memorial Day weekend. It starts on Wednesday, May 22 and ends on May 29. The community is urged to create an event and get together with neighbors, friends and families. The week will begin with an event called the Longest Table. It is an effort to share lunch with 100 or more other people in Seminary Park from noon to 1:00 p.m. on May 22. Participates must register for a seat via the Serve Noblesville website.

The organization’s website has a short list of Come Together Week suggestions for social events or parties, such as hosting a dessert party, or going on a family walk to look for opportunities to reach out to an unfamiliar neighbor. Four winners from preregistered events will be chosen based on creativity and the potential for building connections. Winners will receive up to $200 to reimburse expenses.

FUN Fest represents the acronym Food, Unity, Neighbors. The April 12 event held at Noblesville Community Center will be in partnership with the Noblesville Mayor’s Student Cultural Celebration. This free event will feature sponsored booths highlighting topics such as food, clothing, music, games and tradition sharing. Attendees will get their “passport” stamped at each booth.

“We will have 20 to 30 booths representing unique heritages,” says Propst. “There are 50 different languages spoken in the high school. Our community is becoming more diverse, and this event creates a space where our neighbors can be heard and seen while their diversity is celebrated.”

A multifaceted push to make Noblesville even more unique is in the works. The first, Impact Noblesville, is the result of a partnership with Noblesville Main Street. It is a central website for volunteer opportunities throughout the entire city. Individuals or groups such as businesses with service days can view events posted by organizations or neighborhoods seeking help.

The second initiative seeks to make Noblesville’s six and a half miles of 12 historic neighborhoods definable. Emphasis will be placed on giving each neighborhood a unique identity by bringing to light what is special about it. Neighborhood captains for zones will be activated, and activities such as cleanups and social events will enhance the social fabric of each area.

Last is beautification of the historic areas. Murals and planting of flowering trees along pathways will create an intentional aesthetic. Planned pocket parks in setbacks off of alleys will allow meeting space where there are benches to sit, and residents can share garden seeds, books or produce.

“The idea is for people to be able to tell when they are moving from one area to another, such as walking through the Old Second Ward and entering the Gilded Age,” says Propst. “Developing identities would promote a sense of pride for residents and businesses. By leveraging our community assets along with grants and business support, we will be able to do projects such as installing historic-looking street lamps, which would make an area feel cohesive.”

“Noblesville is just going to improve and get better,” adds Propst. “Nonprofits can make things happen cheaper than cities used to be able to do in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Everyone has assets to contribute, whether they are funds, space or the ability to do physical labor. Connecting projects with these assets creates ownership and pride across generations and ethnicities.”

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