• Ryn Harris

Finding My Place in FrenchTown Heritage Hub

I joined the team at FrenchTown Heritage Hub exactly one week ago, and I can say with full confidence that my time has been and will be nothing shy of fast-paced and very much project-oriented. Like most organizations with social missions, the Hub has the wonderful goal of improving the community around it, and serving a general need. Under the overarching umbrella of FrenchTown Neighborhood Improvement Association (FNIA), the Hub is the home of the Saturday FrenchTown Heritage Market, where residents sell homemade goods like produce, jams, and jewelry. One of FNIA's most recent projects has been KitchenShare - a large commercial kitchen facility within the Hub that is available for use by Frenchtown's own businesspeople and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, while the Hub has plenty of valuable resources to offer the community, such as KitchenShare, they've seemed to have had a hard time establishing a solid public presence and promoting what they have to offer. My goal is to help improve and strengthen the Hub's public image so that it accurately reflects the organization's potential, and in the future to help develop lasting community-engagement strategies.

So far, my tasks have been primarily marketing-related. Currently, FrenchTown Heritage Hub does not have an official online presence, FNIA's website is outdated, and KitchenShareTLH.com lacks certain elements that would help it to run much smoother. Upon seeing this, I created a list of website elements that I believe to be crucial in achieving the websites' full potential, such as being more user-friendly when clients are looking to signup or rent, having relevant space/ equipment photos, staff bios, and organization-contact applications. After reviewing the list with Ms. Meltonia Chandler, my supervisor and the Director of Heritage Hub, we agreed that my list would be the foundation off which changes to the existing websites would be made, as well as the future FNIA website. I have begun working down the list and gathering info as needed - taking pictures of the KitchenShare spaces and equipment, as well as gathering the kitchen staff's headshots and bios for "Meet the Team."

KitchenShare in particular supports local residents and entrepreneurs by providing the tools and resources needed for individuals to break into the food industry, or even just to increase scales of production. I like to think that organizations like FNIA, the Hub and KitchenShare each contribute to the overall concept of community improvement and residential pride. These three orgs are FrenchTown born, and focused on providing residents with the resources to help grow both their community and personal careers. I am so excited to have a hand in this process!

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