Working Together for Community Development: The Partnership between Uncommon Grounds Café and Aliquippa Impact (AI)
“Uncommon Grounds Café is a front for broad-based community development,” says John Stanley. Just a quick walk down the street from Aliquippa Impact (AI), on Franklin Ave, is where Uncommon Grounds Café resides.
The cafe’s motto is in accordance with their name “common grounds, uncommon experience.” Similarly AI’s motto is “Fostering tangible hope for a purposeful future.” With similar organizational views of community development it is no wonder that these two organizations partnered.
Uncommon Grounds Café strives to find ways in which to “give voice” to people. They are able to do this by creating a comfortable environment where typical boundaries such as ethnicity, geography, economics and social differences can be crossed. What better way to create a common ground among those with uncommon experiences than through conversation with coffee.
Conversation and Coffee is not the end to Uncommon Grounds Café, they also offer an art space. Art, music, drama and writing are all encouraged for children in the city of Aliquippa by this café.
“The cafe is an established art space. We encourage the arts all year round. So when students pick up an interest in the arts during the summer program, we encourage them to pursue it through the rest of the year,” said Stanley.
“We have space and they have people,” said Stanley in regards to the partnership. Children involved with AI are encouraged to participate in Uncommon Grounds' summer art program.
Commenting on the similarities of community development and decision to work with AI Stanley said, “Biblically, we are on the same team, and our failure to work together would be a failure of our witness. Personally, we are better when we work together!”