New kiosk promotes information, community involvement in Loleta

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Residents of Loleta now have a central location where they can find out about current and future events and participate more fully in their community.

An informational kiosk has been placed in the park area, across the street from Loleta Bakery and the Post Office, to foster community participation. There was a dedication of the informational kiosk last weekend, just prior to the annual community picnic.

"There was concern with a lack of a centralized place to share information and invitations so that all community members felt welcome to participate in events and programs," said Theresa Huffman, Chair of the Loleta Local Organizing Committee. Now all events and activities, from school carnivals to yard sales, to lost pets, and everything in between, can be posted at the same location.

The LOC was formed last year by a partnership with St. Joseph Health System Foundation and Redwood Community Action Agency. RCAA received a planning grant from the St. Joseph Foundation to work with members of the Loleta community. An additional three-year grant to continue this effort in the Loleta community has been awarded to RCAA from the Health System Foundation.

Several community members spoke at the kiosk dedication about the need for a central location for information about what's going on in Loleta. Darlene Ricotta said she was excited to have a kiosk for all people to use. "I have a strong personal commitment to making sure our community has more opportunities to come together and get to know our neighbors," she said, "I think the kiosk is a good first step."

Celia Campos said, "The kiosk will serve as a fountain of information ... and with the kiosk, we will become a more closely knit community." The notices that will be posted will be in both English and Spanish. Her daughter Stefania Cruz Campos, a junior at Fortuna High School said, "There is no way to know about things that are happening for teenagers like me. It will be good to have a place where I can find out about things to get involved in."

Woodworker and community volunteer Jerry Beck worked with the LOC to design the kiosk and then, with his son Matt, built the kiosk in a couple of weeks. Huffman said Beck "made this solution possible." In appreciation for all his hard work, Beck was given a gift certificate for Loleta Bakery.

The Loleta Chamber of Commerce was also thanked for their involvement in creating a "community solution." The chamber has agreed to maintain the kiosk in the future and ensure it remains an inclusive resource for all community members to use.

The LOC will work in partnership with the Loleta chamber "to ensure that our new community kiosk serves as an important communication hub," said Nicole Coyne, another leader in the LOC. "This is a tool to help us all feel connected and invited to community events and celebrations," she added

The next meeting of the LOC is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15, at the Loleta Community Church. All residents of the Loleta community are welcome.

Photo caption:

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Loleta residents and members of the Loleta Local Organizing Committee gathered for the dedication of a kiosk, which will serve as a communications and outreach tool for the community.