Meet Nokomis East Neighborhood Association’s Board chair, Mia Beste. Mia moved into the neighborhood in 2019. She immediately fell in love with the area, “My humble opinion is the Nokomis area is the best neighborhood in the city. I love the trails, I love the greenery, I love the lakes. I love the people. People have been here since high school and they stay and raise their children here… I think that says something.” When deciding with her now husband Travis who lived in Nokomis East, “Your place or mine?” she still laughs at her answer “Obviously yours.” She pointed out there’s a waterfall less than two miles away and the walkability of the neighborhood.
Mia joined the board in early 2020 as a way to establish roots and meet people. She has been on boards in the past, and felt like she could make a big difference in our community if she joined. Just after her very first board meeting, George Floyd was murdered. NENA sprung into
action and created a neighborhood watch group. “People were coming from out of town to exacerbate the conflict and it was awful and NENA was there,” she said about the watch group. This group was composed of volunteers who would walk people home if they had to get off late from work and were afraid to go alone. Their simple presence made community members feel safer. During this time, NENA also created a DEI committee that created a book club and community education. NENA also created partnerships with tax organizations to help people and small businesses with tax activities.2w
Mia noted that today, NENA has several new goals for our community. “My top priority as chair is to make NENA feel like a home again… It was really hard to connect to the community when we were all stuck in isolation. When you can’t go out in the community and connect one on one, it’s tough to feel like you’re building those bridges…I still feel like people are getting used to getting out there.” She noted that “We’re going through an adjustment period.” and that “There’s still a lot of recovery from the pandemic.”
As NENA is rebuilding our sense of community from the pandemic, Mia also noted budget cuts. NENA’s funding has been cut by the City down to only 22% of what it needs to operate with no plan from City Council on how to secure more funding. So far this year, NENA has thrown two events to raise money for neighbors who may need help affording rent as well as written news articles to teach the public about rent support.
“If I could equate one word to NENA, it’s grace. There's grace in what we do.” “We have our values in the right place about what it means to build community, build connections, provide services, and make Nokomis stronger for everyone who lives here.” NENA is an organization whose sole purpose is to help neighbors and create community. We would love your input and your help to make Nokomis East the best neighborhood out there. Please go to www.nokomiseast.org for future events and committee dates as well as how you can contribute to our Renter Support Fund. We would love to have your help in making our neighborhood better than ever.