For the Inn Crowd

In my opinion, one of the more unique micro-enterprises at Community First! Village is the Community Inn.

In addition to some micro homes, the Community Inn has 4 large teepees and some very distinctive “vintage” campers available for booking on a nightly basis.

"Shasta" the vintage Airstream trailer has AC, a shower, and a fully-equipped kitchenette.

"Shasta" the vintage Airstream trailer has AC, a shower, and a fully-equipped kitchenette.

They are listed on Airbnb and HomeAway, and they have quite a few bookings by people who have no idea where they are located, but simply want to stay there for the unique accommodations.

As with all of the micro-enterprises, the Community Inn is able to contract with residents of the Village to help with maintenance, housekeeping, and cooking, allowing for another way that they can make a dignified income. As Barrett, the innkeeper, says, “It’s a beautiful thing.”

How Does Your Garden Grow

First of all...

With a huge thanks to my wonderful friends, family, and other generous folks, I am proud to announce that we have received pledges reaching our $50,000 Kickstarter goal! As you all probably know by now, if we had not reached our stated goal, we would have received nothing.

Words could never adequately thank you enough for your support. I'm confident that we now have the resources to effectively take our film (once completed) across the country and make a powerful statement of hope for helping our homeless brothers and sisters with the Community First! Village as the blueprint and our documentary as the megaphone. You all are now part of our journey. Any additional pledges will go towards the stretch goals that are listed on our Kickstarter page. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Now, onto this week's video vignette.

The Genesis Gardens are another one of the micro-enterprises at Community First! Village.

Heidi, the director, and her assistant Jim lead a team of residents as they grow an amazing variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. They also raise chickens for their eggs, and honey bees that produce, you guessed it, honey.

All of the produce is distributed to the residents on Saturday mornings free of charge. It’s an impressive operation, and it gives several of the residents an opportunity to make a dignified income, which is one of the many secrets to the success of Community First! Village. But having a chance to work with your hands, see the fruits of your labor, and knowing that you’re providing an essential service to your neighbors gives the participants a real sense of accomplishment that can never be overstated.

Penney Lane

So far, my blogs have featured some of the micro-enterprises at Community First! Village. They are intended to give a very brief, slice-of-life inside look.

With that said, this weeks blog is a little different.

The “meat and potatoes” of the documentary will focus more on the heartbreaks that cause homelessness and the inspiring stories of healing that takes place once our homeless brothers and sisters are welcomed into this community.

I'm excited to share with you a brief story about CFV resident and artist Penney Hunt, whom I have known since she arrived in Austin in 2004. Penney is in her 50’s and had been living on the streets since she was 12 years old. She ended up in Austin when the circus she was working for disbanded, leaving her with no money or home.

I’ll let the video tell the rest.

Like Penney, the residents at Community First Village, along with the village itself, have a story to tell that is worth spreading. You can help. 

Big Screen

You can’t miss the Community Cinema as you enter the Village because of the enormous screen. It's situated in a beautiful amphitheater at the front of the property in a really awesome setting!

Every Friday night they offer free public screenings of first rate films. A wide variety of concessions are offered which are prepared and served by the residents-- another way they are given an opportunity to make a dignified income.

I’m looking forward to the day when we can premiere our documentary at the Community Cinema!

These vignettes are just the beginning. By making a pledge today to the Kickstarter for our full-length documentary, you can join us in our mission of spreading this model across our country, transforming the lives of our homeless brothers and sisters using the power of the big screen.

Art to Art

This week I’m featuring another one of the micro-enterprises available to the residents at Community First! Village.

The arthouse is a very large room with plenty of tables, chairs, and art supplies. It includes a separate room with a potter’s wheel for making pottery and another one for the kiln. It is open 6 days a week for the residents to come and create art. One of the artist featured in this vignette is Penney Hunt, along with some of her artwork. A painting of hers is the center piece of the poster for our film.

As with several of the other micro-enterprises, the artists are able to sell their creations in the Community Market. Obviously the proceeds help generate an income, but it also gives the residents a creative outlet and a sense of accomplishment which you can’t put a price on.

The beautiful note cards shown in this video are our gift to you when you contribute to our documentary efforts through our Kickstarter at several different donation levels
starting at only $20!

Forging Ahead

Last week I posted a video vignette about the soap and lip balm making micro-enterprise at Community First! Village. This week I’ve got another one for you, and it could use some of what the one last week was making... ha!

The blacksmith shop provides another way for residents to earn a dignified income by learning a new craft. In this traditional forging workshop, Evan teaches old world techniques for making a variety of items from steel.

Like the soap and lip balm, these handmade products are then available for sale in the Community Market. The sense of pride and accomplishment in creating these original pieces is evident if you get a chance to discuss it with the maker. Enjoy!

At the Shepherd pledge level ($150), we offer a hand-forged bottle opener as our gift to you. Help us today!

Healing by Hand

I’m finally getting around to posting my first blog about Community First! Village. I plan to update it on a weekly basis and occasionally include some “slice of life”
vignettes like this one.

Since we began shooting in April and have hours and hours of amazing stories, we thought it would be fun to feature some of the micro-enterprises that are available to the residents at the Village.

As you will learn, one of the transformational components of living at Community First! is the opportunity for the previously homeless residents to earn a dignified income and to be mentored by the staff that works there. This brief video demonstrates an example of that. By the way, the products featured are also available as rewards when you give to our Kickstarter campaign.

Enjoy!

This is a brief overview of one of the micro-enterprises going on at Community First! Village. Video produced by Inferno Films.