Aloha (Jan. 2007)

It's hard to believe, but The Commonspace has been around for six years. We've published 49 issues of our online magazine, featuring 653 articles about the people, places and events that make St. Louis special. It's been an all-volunteer labor of love.

As we enter a new year, we've made a difficult decision to stop publishing new issues of the e-zine. Don't worry: we're keeping all of the fabulous content in our archived issues in the same place. Try doing some searches to uncover interesting stories you haven't read yet. (The 24-hour wedding chapel, anyone? Noah's stranded animals? The mysterious provenance of the St. Paul sandwich?)

One of the great things about publishing an online magazine about grassroots civics and culture in St. Louis is making connections with some of our city's hard-working, worthwhile community organizations. One of those organizations is the Friedens Neighborhood Foundation, a nonprofit associated with Friedens United Church of Christ, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary at the corner of 19th and Newhouse in the Hyde Park neighborhood of north city this year.

The Commonspace has run several stories about Friedens, including an article in our very first issue and a nod in our Editors' Choice awards. Since January 2006, we've both been on the board of the Friedens Neighborhood Foundation.

In November, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that the foundation will receive a $400,000 grant to start a new YouthBuild program. Starting March 1, Brian will be the full-time program director for North St. Louis YouthBuild (and yes, that helps explain why we won't be publishing any new issues of The Commonspace).

YouthBuild works to unleash the positive energy of low-income young people to rebuild their communities and their lives. The program emphasizes leadership development, neighborhood service and the creation of a strong community of adults and youth committed to each other's success.

The HUD grant will enable 40 unemployed and undereducated people ages 16-24 to work toward their GEDs while learning construction skills by building affordable housing. Participants will gain hands-on experience by rehabbing the deteriorating Old German School Building at 1908 Newhouse Avenue into two residential units.

Thank you for your support, encouragement and readership over the years. It's meant the world to us. We hope we'll run into you out there, doing something great for our city.

Yours for a better St. Louis,

Amanda and Brian

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The Commonspace's mission is to foster grassroots civics and culture in St. Louis.