Working with The Greater Milan Initiative was a life changing experience. After fifteen years, this small but mighty community center brought me in to help create a brand and website. I was able to immerse myself in the community, hear from so many residents, learn about the incredible, people-focused impact they have created – and fell head over heels in love with everything that Milan is. Initially my goal was shaped by the tactic of most community programs – bold, but fairly generic. From the moment I stepped in the doors, I knew that wouldn’t do it justice. GMI didn’t need a new vision, it is perfect – it just needed what it was to be encapsulated, and a means of communicating all of the incredible things they do cohesively.
Milan is everything I love, organically growing strong among the prairies and farmland of western Minnesota. Laughter, history, art, diversity, connection. It’s something out of a dream.
I was able to bring an arts event during my visit, which allowed me to get to know the kids who are the focus and heart of the community-led organization. As I spoke with area residents, I heard my own beliefs echoed again and again – the belief that kids need space, a rooted place in their home -and that they need an open door and support in shaping the world around them. I heard passionate calls for creating opportunities for their limitless potential to be nutured. More than that, I saw that passion in action – needs met, obstacles overcome, paths forged. True community, sometimes against all odds and preconceived notions.