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Be the Change: Grand Street Community Arts

By Natalie Criscione

Perhaps you’ve noticed recently that whether you’re buying a cup of coffee or a week’s worth of groceries, a new question has been added to the check-out regimen: “Would you like to round up to the nearest dollar to support ______________?”

“Be the Change,” a program launched by Honest Weight less than a year ago, has raised over $41,818 for local community organizations with that simple question.  Each month a different organization is highlighted as a recipient.  And, to make it even better, HW matches the first $500 raised each month!

July’s featured organization is the Grand Street Community Arts, inc. (GSCA) which began in 2003 in the Mansion Neighborhood with the goal of “unifying community through the arts.” Housed on Grand St in the former St. Anthony’s church, the organization provides and sponsors space for exhibits and performances, was the birthplace of Youth FX, and collaborated with the City of Albany in The Vacant Lots Project. 

In addition, it provides services such as a free monthly breakfast program that  brings people together to discuss issues pertinent to the neighborhood, an art mentoring program that matches young people with real artists, a club that teaches and provides space for new chess players who wish to hone their skills, an organic gardening program that introduces young people to sustainable farming, and a publicly supported radio station (WCAA-LP 107.3 FM) which can be streamed from a link on the website:

Like many non-profits, GSCA is a vibrant addition to the community through the dedication of its volunteers and donors.  With plans for ongoing renovation, programming, and space for an on-site social worker, their vision continues to expand.

So, during July when you say “yes” to rounding up to the nearest dollar, know that you are also saying “yes” to community engagement, the city’s youth, healthy neighborhoods, ongoing radio programming, and the arts.  

Natalie Criscione remembers shopping at the Quail St. Honest Weight location. She wears many hats: educator, writer, artist, musician, property manager, advocate, and volunteer. She loves being part of the Coop Scoop team!

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