Each year, our Raspberry Royalty create a community service project from concept to execution. We call these their Crown Project. Take a look at some of the great past events!
2019 – Ashley, Katie, and Kallie Jo – Mental Health Awareness Fair
We really wanted to focus on the importance of Mental Health Awareness month, as the issue was really important to us. All of us have a personal experience or know someone affected by mental health issues, and we wanted to create an event that helped people understand how to find resources, ways they can help themselves and others, and to help educate the community around the negative stigma. We decided to hold an event at the Hopkins Activity Center that included many different mental health resource centers around the area including Birch Counseling, MoveFwd, Mental Health Minnesota, and MyHealth Clinic. This way, attendees at our event could come and learn about some of the local places where someone can talk to a professional and learn more about the services they offer. We also were so excited to have North Star Therapy Dogs with us with some of their furry friends to help participants de-stress and learn more about emotional support animals. Throughout the event, we had different activities and strategies to help participants learn how to take care of their mental health, such as mindfulness, sensory experience, creative expression, and self-soothing. Our proudest moment was the silent auction we had at the event that supported MyHealth Clinic, which is a local clinic on Mainstreet that provides mental health care to youth and young adults that may not otherwise be able to afford services. Our silent auction included many gift baskets and prizes that were donated to us by local Hopkins businesses.
I think an important aspect of being a leader that this Crown Project really taught us is how to be vulnerable. Many times, especially with social media, it is easy to put on a fake face and create a false reality of who you are. However, many of the best leaders throughout history have shown their vulnerable sides, which made them the great leaders they are today. By being vulnerable about how we are affected by mental illness and the overall subject of mental health, we opened up a conversation within the community for many who were too afraid to talk about it on their own. – Kallie Jo
2018 – Natalie, Chloe, and Kelly – Resource West Fundraiser & Instagram Takeover
The 2017-2018 Royalty did a two part Crown Project. One part was increasing our presence on social media and to promote the program. They worked together to create a calendar of when each girl would add a post to our Instagram and Facebook page. They each then owned responsibility in the project and followed through with that responsibility. The goal was to post some of the behind the scenes thoughts that they had as they traveled through the second half of their year. Their hashtag was #behindthecrown. Some things that they shared were leadership connections to their everyday life, favorite memories from their year, insider thoughts on events they went to and farewells as many of their royal friends were passing on their crowns. The idea of the royalty creating personal posts for our social media platforms is something we still implement today and it all started with this Crown Project.
The second part of their project was to directly benefit the community of Hopkins. The three ladies did a fundraiser at 10th and Main Nutrition for Resource West. The local shake bar opened up after hours and trained the three on how to run the show. They learned to make yummy, nutritious protein shakes, teas, and aloe shots as well as run the sales and a raffle at the same time. Princess Kelly even created a special raspberry themed shake for the event! The raffle items were all donated from local businesses. The team raised over $200 in just two hours that night and all of it went back to Resource West which helps low income families in the area with things like school supplies, winter warm wear, assistance with building resumes and other social services.
2017 – Jezabel, Sophrona, and Katelyn – Repurposing Wedding Flowers
Flowers are one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, and yet they are only used for one night. Our year, we had the idea to partner with local wedding planners and florists to re-purpose those flowers that were just going to be thrown out once the party was finished. We would go to a venue after the event was over, load up our cars with flowers, and redesign them into smaller bouquets. After creating cute little mason jar arrangements, we dropped them off at some nursing homes in the Hopkins and Minnetonka areas to help brighten up the days of residents! This definitely improved my leadership skills because this project required coordination between many different people and helped me to create an organized system to get the job done!
A bonus of this project, for me personally, was that it led me to one of my current jobs and helped me create a connection that pushed me to pursue something I never thought to do as a future career. I am now working with a wedding planner that was part of this project as an intern for a different company. I reached out to her old boss for a job opportunity because of the connection we had built through my Crown Project, so even though this project only lasted one year, it has helped me make a few lifelong connections that have helped my future. – Sophrona
2016 – Kayla, Tia and Kristine – MoveFwd Supply Drive
Kayla, Tia and Kristine’s Crown Project was a supply drive for MoveFwd. MoveFwd is a nonprofit based in Hopkins that offers barrier-free therapy to youth and families, housing assistance to young people who are experiencing or at risk for homelessness, and other helpful services. The ages they mainly support are people 15-24, which is similar to the age range of Kayla, Tia and Kristine. They wanted to collect much needed personal care items and non-perishable food to donate to the organization. MoveFwd could then pass these items on to teens in the area that are struggling with homelessness. The three spent a day partnering with Driskills in downtown Hopkins where they asked shoppers as they entered the store to consider purchasing even just one extra item to donate to their supply drive. Then they had a station set up at the exit for people to drop items they had purchased and cash donations for MoveFwd. At our annual fundraising dinner, these young women also asked to include a note with the invitation, asking guests to bring items to donate. And many of them did! After collecting the times, the Royal Family and Raspberry Royalty Candidates gather to organize their items and write personal, motivational notes to teens that might be receiving the items.
2015 – Sally, McKenna, and Keyah – Suicide Prevention Walk
In 2015, the 2014-2015 Hopkins Raspberry Festival Royalty created a 5K walk called “Live 4 Tomorrow” in order to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention. This idea was created in response to an unfortunate number of suicides during that year in the Hopkins school district. We wanted to give back to our community with this walk in order to give students in the Hopkins school district suicide awareness, counslors to speak with, and tools to to help spot when someone may need help. The proceeds from our walk were donated to Dylan’s Hope, a non-profit organization that brings that awareness and tools to the community.
As a team, we had to come up with a route, advertising, and community partners so that we had somewhere to host the event. We were able to have our start and end point at the Hopkins Depot coffee house with stations along the route where some of our family members as well as the 2015 candidates were able to hand out water and snacks to those that participated. We were given a donation to purchase t-shirts to give to participants as part of their registration fee. With our 5K walk/run, we were able to give Dylan’s Hope roughly $1200.
Being able to connect with community partners and be an advocate for myself is a skill that I have been able to bring into my life now. I am using the skills I gained from the Crown Project to speak to community members and partner with them as a portion of my final masters degree project. Without this project, I wouldn’t have learned the tools to seek out people or organizations in my community to bring them on a project that has started from nothing and seeing it to its completion. -Keyah