Aaron Meyer Benefit Concert

Friday, December 9, 2022

5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Biography: Aaron played his first violin when he was five, and by the time he was 11 years old, he had soloed with the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra bringing audiences to their feet with his inspiring performance. Aaron studied the violin with his father, Julian Meyer, who taught the world-renowned violinist Sarah Chang.

Audiences are truly mesmerized by Aaron’s unique stage presence blended with awe-inspiring virtuosic performances. He immediately engages his fans, displaying an affinity for the violin in a seemingly effortless mastery of the instrument. Whenever he performs, he connects with audiences of all ages, cultures and backgrounds from all around the world.

Aaron takes his violin everywhere and loves to share his music all over the world. Venues include performing Arts Centers, guest solo appearances with Symphony Orchestra’s, music festivals, and luxury resorts and cruises, as well as National Anthems for the NBA and the NFL.

Aaron’s love for young people and education inspired him to create his unique music educational programs, which continually reach students worldwide. Each year, Aaron visits dozens of schools all over the Pacific Northwest and around the world, presenting assembly-style educational music programs, holding workshops and assisting in the creation of CDs of student-written songs. Aaron also conducts summer camps and workshops for youth on songwriting, recording, and studio production.

Suggested Donation is $25.00

Sandy’s AntFarm to acquire Harmony Baking Company in Estacada

Eatery, community institution to take on new owners and maintain the same mission.

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Nunpa, executive director of AntFarm, and Jenny Beaudoin, owner of Harmony, are planning ahead for a sale of the cafe and bakery to AntFarm.

PHOTO BY BRITTANY ALLEN – Nunpa, executive director of AntFarm, and Jenny Beaudoin, owner of Harmony, are planning ahead for a sale of the cafe and bakery to AntFarm.

Nearly 40 years ago, Linda Lawrence opened Harmony Baking Company, at 221 S.W. Wade St. in Estacada, with the mission of creating a place where anyone and everyone could come and be comfortable and eat good food.

In 2020, Lawrence’s niece Jenny Beaudoin and her husband, Corey Lawrence, took over ownership of Harmony, with the goal of maintaining its place in the community.

“My aunt used to say: ‘There’s a space for everyone at our table,'” Beaudoin said.

Now, after just over two years, Beaudoin said she feels like “we did what we started out to do,” and she’s selling the bakery and cafe to neighbors AntFarm.

Beaudoin has helped out around the business intermittently since she was 14. Now at 41, she is looking to refocus on her career as a social worker and her husband plans to work more on his art outside of the kitchen.

“I want to honor everything my aunt did,” Beaudoin said. “I’m really proud of it. We have other plans though. I feel like Harmony is ready for the next phase.”

For Beaudoin, selling the cafe and bakery to AntFarm, a nonprofit organization founded in Sandy that has recently started operating community-serving programs in Estacada, was a natural choice. Last fall, AntFarm purchased property behind the cafe on Wade Street and partnered with Harmony to start a community garden on the land between the buildings.

The transition in ownership of the bakery is planned for Dec. 1, so by the time Beaudoin exits, she’ll have operated the space for just under three years. As such, she said she feels like a “foster mom” for the business.

“Now I’m blessing it on to a forever home,” she said.

It is uncertain whether the name of the business will remain the same, but Nunpa, executive director of AntFarm, said “we want to honor the tradition, the family.”

“We’re now talking about ‘How do we do that best?'” he added.

There will be some rebranding to keep the soon-to-be AntFarm owned location consistent with the AntFarm Cafe & Bakery on Proctor Boulevard in Sandy.

“It’s far more than just good food, it’s relationships and connections,” Nunpa said. “We want to create that space in relation to history.”

Unlike when he opened his cafe in Sandy, “we’re not starting from scratch,” Nunpa said. So, he’s looking forward to hitting the ground running when AntFarm takes ownership.

AntFarm’s mission, outside of feeding people, is creating opportunities for youth as well as those who are underprivileged. In Sandy, and now in Estacada as well, AntFarm coordinates a community garden and offers a variety of services for youth. AntFarm’s services include tutoring, youth workforce development, homeless youth support, addiction prevention, emergency management and support for senior citizens.

Estacada community members recently gathered to celebrate the opening of AntFarm’s Zobrist Community Center. AntFarm staff will use the center to host classes, community meetings and more.

“I’m super excited,” Nunpa told a Pamplin Media Group reporter that day. “Estacada deserves more support and connections, and we’re here to help. When AntFarm opened in 2010 (in Sandy), we had Estacada kids there then.”

Nunpa is hoping having a cafe and bakery in Estacada will create opportunities closer to home for youth, like there is for teens in Sandy.

“Youth internships in the cafe are already in my mind,” Nunpa said.

“I’ve known about AntFarm for quite a while,” Beaudoin said. “I’ve always been aware of the community service that they provide, and just knowing that we have such aligned values (is comforting). It’s important to me that Harmony is in good hands and with the same values that I have. It would feel very irresponsible to let it go into the universe in any other way.”

Beaudoin added that she’s looking forward to taking to the sidelines and just being a “cheerleader” for Harmony.

“I want nothing but for this to be successful,” she said.

While Harmony is a fairly popular spot for brunch and lunch in Estacada, Nunpa said the decision to purchase the business had less to do with the money and more to do with “the cause.”

“I think about the youth in this town,” he said. “People need this. We want to create that safe space for people to go.”

Some things potentially staying the same at Harmony by AntFarm are some of the recipes used in the kitchen — Corey Lawrence is hard at work perfecting recipes to hand over — along with the hot meal voucher program. Nunpa said he appreciates that program so much, he plans to implement it at AntFarm in Sandy as well.

“It’s about honoring the people here,” Nunpa said. “The key in all of this is holding the values.”

Besides values (and aside from Beaudoin and Lawrence) the staff at Harmony also will remain. And relationships with local farmers who provide produce for the cafe will be maintained.

“It is an incredible staff,” Beaudoin said. “I could not be prouder. I think the community is just going to welcome this (transition) with open arms.”

“I’m excited,” Nunpa added.

The existing and new owners of Harmony plan to host an event to recognize the transition, but no date has been set.

-Written by Brittany Allen of Pamplin Media

Living Life Full Circle

The AntFarm I came back to was not the one I left. This might sound like a bad thing, and I’ll admit it was a little intimidating at first, but what AntFarm has grown into continues to inspire me every day. I’m Neal Hatley, and I am the Director of the Outdoor Programs.

I started in the position back in January of 2020. Back then, AntFarm was considerably smaller. We had about a dozen employees, including me, and everything ran out of one small office in the Café building. Given our modest size, the impact we had on the community was something to be proud of. I regularly had groups of 12 youth volunteers helping seniors in many different parts of Clackamas through our CommunityConnect Program. We had YouthCore Crews working for homeowners and many businesses in and around Sandy. We had Trail Crews in the summer doing work for the BLM and National Forestry Service up the mountain. It didn’t feel like a small operation at the time, but looking back on it, we had so much room for growth.

Our CommunityConnect has long existed to serve seniors and people with disabilities in Sandy and surrounding areas. We provide much-needed services, such as lawn care, landscaping, debris, invasive plant removal, and much more. We do this by bringing together a group youth volunteers each Saturday. I’ve seen young people grow so much when given the opportunity to help someone. It shows them how much value they can bring to the people that truly need them. These acts of service build confidence and a sense of pride in a profound way. It gives them the opportunity to be part of a team, and to work towards something bigger than themselves.

Ever since my first day on the job at AntFarm, a Saturday leading CommunityConnect, I have been proud of what we do. Many of our CommunityConnect clients have no other way to get this work done. Many of them don’t have a family network to rely on, or the resources to hire this work themselves. I’ve seen the sparkle in the eye of a youth as they receive the heartfelt gratitude of someone who could not have completed these jobs without our help. This sentiment, being there for a member of our community in their time of need, is what makes me so proud of what AntFarm has grown into in the era of COVID.

I was called away to my home state of North Carolina for a family emergency at the end of August 2020. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would be gone for an entire year. This year would bring about a great deal of change, for me and especially for AntFarm.

The AntFarm I returned to after my year of leave was very different. Instead of a dozen employees, we had about 40 full-time staff, most of whom were hired to work on the team to provide rent assistance and COVID Wraparound services. We had just finished the Summer Works program, which employed another 60-plus youth. We had additional office space to house all these employees, and that space was abuzz with people all working towards the same goal as our CommunityConnect program; helping members of our community in their time of need.

Something I used to say to my youth as we got ready to help a senior was “There are no small jobs”. Whatever we are doing for that senior, however small it might seem to us, is of the utmost importance to them. They’ve likely been thinking about this job for weeks, and they will be filled with such a sense of relief once it’s off their plate. This is our gift to them. That sentiment is what makes me value the work of our COVID team so much. Every single day, they take a burden off of a member of our community’s plate. Whether they’re providing groceries for someone who can’t leave home or they’re helping someone who’s lost their job pay the rent, the COVID team is helping in a way that I never thought AntFarm would be able to. I have felt the palpable sense of relief from a senior for something as simple as mowing their grass, so I can only imagine the sense of relief felt by our COVID assistance clients.

As we continue through these unprecedented times, I’m truly proud to be part of this organization. I’m proud of the work that we do. I’m proud of the skills and the confidence our youth build through this work. Most of all, I’m proud of the fact that our organization was willing to take a risk in pursuit of an effort to better our community. No matter what the next year brings, I know that AntFarm will continue to find new ways to help folks in their time of need.

If you have any questions about our YouthCore, CommunityConnect, or COVID assistance programs, please reach out by sending us an email at info@antfarmyouthservices.com and we can get you connected with the right people.