Written by Bekah Knab, Graduate Student and RD at Geneva College
When I moved back to Beaver Falls in 2018 to start graduate school, I was overwhelmingly encouraged by the projects and developments happening in the city. To be honest, I was not thrilled to move back to my hometown, but I was quickly humbled by the individuals who were faithfully engaged in pursuing the best for Beaver Falls. I needed to move away and come back to have eyes to see the beauty that currently exists in this city and to be excited about the potential for things to come.
One of the projects that sparked excitement was Neighborhood North: Museum of Play. A children’s museum? Opening right here, in Beaver Falls? The more I heard about it, the more I knew I wanted to be involved. The energy and vision of NN drew me in as I saw their pop-up exhibits around town, or heard individuals share about the project at CDC meetings. This big dream for a place of creativity, play and belonging in Beaver Falls was actually a reality, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Now, as part of the Education Committee at NN, I get to combine my passion for education, development, and Beaver County. Working with an incredibly gifted team of individuals has inspired me not just at NN, but also as I complete my graduate program. Being involved in the greater community gives more purpose to my studies and work at Geneva College. This college exists in a resilient city where innovation and creativity are thriving, and it is a privilege to learn from the Beaver Falls community as I also learn in the graduate classroom.
As a Resident Director, I am passionate about showing students what it looks like to live in the community. Through my involvement at NN, I am able to encourage the college students with whom I live to be involved in the city and build relationships outside of campus. I have the opportunity to invite students to be a part of something bigger than campus life and learn what it means to be a good neighbor. These opportunities not only shape us now but will continue to influence our community involvement, as we eventually move into neighborhoods and cities of our own.
The invitation to be involved with NN has also confirmed my desire to stay in Beaver County after I graduate in the spring. Although it is not the only factor, participating in this project has helped me re-plant roots in the community. The shared vision of everyone committed to NN and to this city has inspired me to stay and continue to grow here. Once you catch hold of the passion for this place, it is difficult to imagine leaving. Good things are happening here at NN as we navigate the current COVID-19 season and continue to plan for the future. It is a privilege to be on this team of hard-working, creative, and committed individuals, and I am grateful to be a part of the NN family.
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Honoring Fred Rogers, creator of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, "Won't You Be My Neighbor Day" is on March 20th. Neighborhood North will dedicate the full week of March 20-25 to exploring emotions through mask-making in the Maker Space, followed by stage or puppet show performances.