Rosedale residents cleaning up parks, one person at a time

Erin Stryka and the Rosedale Development Association are cleaning up the parks in the area, one by one. (Photo from Erin Stryka)

As a stay-at-home order is in effect, the Rosedale Development Association had to cancel its annual cleanup day on April 18. But that doesn’t mean that the community cleanup can’t go on, according to executive director Erin Stryka.

The RDA now is sponsoring “Working Wednesdays” for residents to get out and clean up their parks and neighborhood, one by one, she said.

“This is a very strange and difficult time for everybody,” Stryka said. “In Rosedale, we have a lot of helpers.”

Community members help each other and the neighborhood on a regular basis, she said. “Working Wednesdays” is a way for everyone to do that – while making sure they are not gathering in a group of 10 or more and not closer than 6 feet apart, she said.

Besides the parks, residents may clean up their yards and sidewalks. They will be doing the individual cleanup every Wednesday in April.

The stay-at-home order does not include going for a walk, a bike ride or a hike, as long as people are at least 6 feet away from others, and they don’t gather in a group, she said.

“It is definitely OK to go to Rosedale Park or Fisher Park and walk around and enjoy the outside,” she said.

Stryka was at Fisher Park this morning, picking up trash and cleaning up, she said.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said.

The RDA has cleanup supplies available for Rosedale residents who want to help, she added. Rosedale residents may call 913-677-5097 for information about the cleanup supplies.

Rosedale residents also may call the same number if they need groceries delivered, supplies delivered or somebody to check in with, she said.

Job board connects employers, job seekers in Rosedale

A job board is connecting employers and job seekers in the Rosedale area.

Launched in December by the Rosedale Development Association, the online job board features mostly jobs available in Rosedale, according to Erin Stryka, RDA executive director.

“We are finding out, first of all, that we have lots of Rosedale businesses that want to hire local folks and are really excited to be posting on a job board for Rosedalians, and for everybody,” she said.

Just recently, the job board had postings for jobs as a community garden assistant, chimney technician apprentice, landscape technician, kitchen staff, bilingual customer service representative and other positions.

The job board may be accessed by anyone, and there is no charge to view the job listings or to place a job listing, she said.

“It’s by and for Rosedalians, but it’s available for everybody,” Stryka said. There are a few jobs listed that are located outside of the Rosedale area, she added.

Job seekers may create a profile on the website and submit their resumes. Employers may list their open positions and look through resumes on the website.

The Rosedale job board was developed by the Rosedale Development Association’s business communications intern, Jada Escobar, with support from the RDA staff.

“This is something we’re doing for the community’s benefit,” Stryka said.

The Rosedale job board is online at

Rosedale area residents to participate in inspirational reading program for MLK Day

Rosedale resident Hanna Hochstetler read with Rosedale Middle School students at a past inspirational reading program. (Photo from Rosedale Development Association)
Dottie Griffin, a volunteer, shared her story with students at a past inspirational reading program on the week of the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. (Photo from Rosedale Development Association)

Volunteers ranging from college students to elders of the Rosedale community will join Rosedale Development Association Jan. 21 – 24, the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, for their annual Reading Inspirational Stories to Empower, or R.I.S.E., program.

For the eighth year, community volunteers will visit over 50 Rosedale classrooms to read stories about civil rights and social justice. Through the program, volunteer readers engage local children about the country’s struggle toward equality, and how it continues today, according to a spokesman.

This year’s theme is “Lift Every Voice” and will encourage students in adding their own voices of advocacy and knowledge that they are agents for change in their communities.

After reading and discussing the books, students will be invited to participate in a social action project. This component has students “lift their voices” to identify pressing issues and share ideas on how to improve the community.

“Since the youth are unable to vote, the advocacy component will invite volunteer readers and legislators to take the voices of the students into consideration as we work to shape the future of our community,” Je T’aime Taylor, Rosedale Development Association program director, said of the program.

The books that have been chosen for this year’s program highlight voting, running for office and advocating for migrant rights. R.I.S.E. was started to honor and continue the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said,”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This bridge between the action of yesterday and the advocacy of today is a fundamental component of the R.I.S.E. program, a spokesman said.

Those who have participated in the program in past years include Dottie Griffin, a volunteer who has participated in the program since 2013.

While reading to a 4th grade Noble Prentis classroom, Griffin paused, saying, “Now, if you see me put my hand on my chest or hear my voice get a little wavy, it’s because I was alive when this happened to Dr. King, and I still remember clearly what we went through back then.”

She then went on to explain why it was important today’s students understand what she and her peers endured, using her experiences to show that these youth can be the powerful change-makers of today.

R.I.S.E. volunteers will attend an orientation at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Rainbow Mennonite Church fellowship hall at 1444 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas.

A complimentary dinner will be provided by the Health Forward Foundation for participants.

The training will orient volunteers toward the importance of reading and communication and emphasize how to help students identify and draw lessons from a story’s theme. In addition, activities will help volunteers reflect on inequality in and around their own lives and possibly inspire them to take action.

Rosedale Development Association is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work with residents, businesses, and institutions to develop a thriving Rosedale community.

For more information about the program or to get involved, contact RDA Program Director, Je T’aime Taylor at 913-677-5097 or