The Power of 3: A trio of nonprofits power up mind, body, and soul05/26/2021 12:29PM ● By Jay Murry
We are all familiar with the phrase “power of 3,” a concept that describes the interweaving of mind, body, and soul to produce a more powerful vibe than just focusing on one of them. BROC Community Action, the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, and Little Bellas certainly provide powerful enhancements to the mind, body, and soul of Vermonters.
A (B)Rock of Community Action
Rocks can serve as touchstones of inspiration. Tom Donahue, CEO of BROC Community Action says BROC provides “a one-stop shop for myriad essential services addressing the plight of low-income families and those living in poverty.”
When crises like the COVID-19 pandemic erupt, Tom says, “We see ourselves like firefighters who run into the burning building, when everyone else is running out.” BROC ran into the building of community assistance to make sure food shelves were open daily, provided an increased amount of food to thousands, and supplied fuel assistance and housing assistance programs. All told, BROC helped provide two rounds of funding totaling $2 million to 436 struggling small businesses (employing five or fewer people) in the form of $5,000 COVID relief grants. A third round of $2 million funding will be announced soon to help individuals who have lost employment during the pandemic start microbusinesses.
Even in the summer, with BROC’s Bridging the Gap Summer Meal Program, school kids do not go without lunch. BROC Community Action helps fuel the mind and body, so the collective soul of the community can thrive.
Jazz In Burlington: Discover Nirvana
Your mind, body, and soul will not thrive unless you sample the nourishment provided by the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. The steaming hearty jambalaya of live jazz was tossed aside by COVID-19 last year, but it will be ladled out with love June 4 through 13.
The festival begins in a most unusually fun way. Ever see 50 saxophones in one place playing in unison? The 50 Saxophones gathering invites all sax players—whatever their skill level—to usher in the beginning of the festival. From there, it is a nonstop all-you-can-enjoy buffet of jazz and many are free: in City Hall Park, local school band concerts on Church Street Marketplace, a series of shows at Nectar’s and Halvorson’s, the Hurly Burly series of pop-up concerts at area parks (Roosevelt, Smalley, Starr Farm) that feature bands playing on flatbed trucks, and the culmination of the festival on June 12 with a giant jazz block party stretching from The Flynn through the whole City Hall Park block of downtown Burlington. That’s just the short list of all that will be fun at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.
A focus on celebrating local and regional artists will highlight beginners and up-and-comers. Jay Wahl, Executive Director of The Flynn, says, “The intimacy, charm, openness, and accessibility of the area contributes to celebrating musicians from all levels.” Musician Christian McBride is more succinct, “There are a number of places where I used to travel that I don’t go to any longer, but Burlington has been on my calendar for 30 straight years. I love that town.”
Those are great reasons why you will love the return of live jazz at the 38th Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.
Girls Conquering Mountains With Bikes
If you do a word-association activity with someone and say “mentoring,” it’s not likely that the response will be “mountain biking.” Unless that person is familiar with the Little Bellas organization.
Sabra Davison, executive director and co-founder of Little Bellas, says using mountain biking as a platform for mentoring young girls seven to 13 years of age has been highly effective. The sport, according to Sabra, is one that serves as a metaphor for life. Sometimes “it’s really hard. You’re going to fall down and struggle a little bit. It’s just how the sport is. That lends itself to having a mentor.”
Once a girl gets help from a mentor and brushes the dust off, Sabra says the thrill of being on a mountain bike rushes in. “When you see that reaction, it reminds you of Christmas morning. It just makes everything so great.”
There is a curriculum that provides a road map for mentors and their young charges, but Sabra says the overriding theme is making it fun. “The thing that the girls have the most fun with is organic play. When they’re out on a trail and riding through a stream, and they want to ride through it eight or nine times more—that’s what they remember and that is what’s fun.”
Mentors are joined by professional athletes from a variety of sports. Sabra says their positive impacts on the young girls have helped perpetuate the Little Bellas program. “We have girls who started in the program when they were seven, became junior mentors, and who are now mentors. We’ve also had girls who moved to different places who are past participants, and they applied to start a chapter in their new area.”
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