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Talent Maker City expands and carries “optimism” until 2022

December 31 — Talent Maker City ended 2021 with a long list of completed projects and plans for new activities over the coming year, on the path to purchasing land to build a permanent home for the programs and the creation space of the non-profit association.

This year, Talent Maker City and its partners worked with 42 students to build 55 beds for families whose homes burned down in the Almeda fire, according to a Dec. 28 blog post on the TMC website. In the Phoenix-Talent School District, families of nearly 700 students lost their homes in the September 2020 fire.

The construction workshops “provided the necessary resources to families affected by the fire” and “the education and skills building of students who were directly affected by the fire, allowing them to be directly part of the solution, creating thus healing and resilience in the process, ”the TMC team said in the post.

Students learned carpentry, electrical, plumbing and other renovation skills through the Bus Project, which focused on converting two school buses into transitional housing for families affected by the fire.

Over the summer, 250 students took part in STEAM camps, learning how to build karts, mosaics and ukuleles, soldering and campaigning on social media alongside instructors trained in trauma-informed care. , to better serve students and families affected by the fire, the team said.

As part of the Gateway Mural Project, student artists submitted concepts that were transformed into a mural surrounding the transitional housing project at Talent created to help families displaced by the fire – a partnership between the Renewal Agency Urban Talent, the City of Talent and the Phoenix-Talent School District.

Alli French served as interim executive director following the departure of co-founder Ryan Wilcoxson in the fall. Three new staff joined the team, including a now staff intern, an outreach and engagement coordinator, and an administrative specialist.

“With the addition of new staff, we will be better able to serve local communities with our hands-on programming and workshops,” French and the team said in the post.

In June, Representative Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, donated $ 1.8 million to TMC to design and build a permanent facility to house the nonprofit in downtown Talent. The funding will support the purchase of land, planning, permitting, equipment, system development costs and construction of an 8,500 square foot facility.

The allowance was one of three projects in District 5 of Oregon House that were to receive $ 240 million in funding set aside by the Oregon Legislature for direct community investments under American Rescue. Plan Act.

In the spring, the state received $ 4.2 billion from a $ 1.9 billion economic stimulus package, of which $ 240 million was allocated to each legislative constituency. Each state representative received $ 2 million and each senator received $ 4 million for one-time expenses in their districts.

“Time and time again, Talent Maker City has stepped up to help the community recover and thrive after the Almeda wildfire,” Marsh said Wednesday. “Now TMC needs a home. Crown money and the new location will allow TMC to continue to nurture and support the youth and small businesses at the heart of the community. “

Going forward, TMC plans to offer a series of adult workshops, continue the Rise Up and Rebuild workshops (including finishing the bus project) and roll out a new membership structure starting in February, intended to improve accessibility to the community, according to the post.

“With funding to build our own space, new staff and the restart of our workshops and programs, I find myself filled with grateful optimism for the future of TMC,” French said in the post. “I also see this optimism in the young people we serve. Their perspective, their energy and their connection reminds me of what we all have the innate capacity to create.”