Recognize someone making a difference

INVOLVD web docuseries features people making positive changes

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Know someone making an impact in the community?
A new web docuseries called INVOLVD by Minneapolis company ADX is highlighting people making outsized contributions in their Twin Cities communities, and they’re looking for tips on people to feature.
A second season launches Thursday, Aug. 19.
“2020 was a tumultuous year, with many episodes to be firmly put behind us as a nation. For us here in the Twin Cities, it was a time of reckoning too, when we were each forced to think about how to be better for the good of our city, our citizens, and our nation,” remarked Steve Renner, founder of ADXLabs, Inc. and the ADX Foundation in Minneapolis. “As a company, ADX decided to invest in people, projects, and our community.”
He added, “We face tremendous uncertainty and economic difficulties, but through it all our fellow citizens have made a positive difference in ways big and small. Our new web series, INVOLVD, focuses on people in our community who are doing what they can to make the world a better place.”
“There was a lot of bad news happening in the media and we wanted to focus on people doing good things. So we started this show to invoke change in people, to promote a culture of listening,” explained northeast Minneapolis resident Eric King, producer and creative director of VNATION!, the ADX entertainment branch. He formerly lived for 20 years in Frogtown, the North End and West St. Paul.
The team began by reaching out to people they knew and it grew from there. “We’ve got our eyes open all the time,” remarked producer/writer Katrina Hood, an Augsburg University graduate.
The first season featured four community members in two- to five-minute episodes and begin airing on Feb. 11, 2021.
“They have interesting stories to tell,” said executive producer Davis Draheim, who resides in Bloomington and developed the series.
Episode one focuses on Chris Axelson, an artist and former member of the U.S. National Guard who talks about the art he created using the 1778 Gadsen Flag with the words “Don’t Kneel on Me” that went viral.
Two episodes feature artists who have been a part of the Creative Enterprise Zone in St. Paul. City of Skate member Witt Siasoco talks about how he’s merged skateboarding and art in Minneapolis.
St. Paul resident Xee Reiter is a first-generation Hmong American finding her voice and place in the world through artistic expression. She creates murals, book illustrations and TV graphics.
Cool Meets Cause breaks down cost barriers that prevent Twin Cities youth from snowboarding. They provide gear, instructors, time, and space at Theodore Wirth Park in north Minneapolis.
The first season of filming during COVID-19 restrictions came with a set of challenges, according to the four-member INVOLVD team, which also includes producer Jean Park. Some shoots were just a single person with a camera in order to keep contact at a minimum.
They begin by researching each idea, and figuring out how to package it in such as way that they can tell the story in just three minutes. They recognize they’re not interviewing professional actors.
“Sometimes people don’t want to be on camera but they still want to tell their stories,” said Draheim, “so we come up with creative ways to do that.”
Along the way, the INVOLVD team gets to know the people they’re documenting, and the stories affect them, too.
When he watched kids experience snowboarding for the first time, King said, “I got chills up and down my spine.”

‘Grassroots’
Season two includes six episodes that features the stories of people that aren’t well known. “We want to support the grassroots people,” said Draheim.
The goal of south Minneapolis resident Vikas Narula of Neighborhood Forest is that every child in America plant a baby tree.
New City Charter School in Northeast Minneapolis is teaching students to be global citizens and showing them how they can be a part of making a difference.
Pat Gerdes and Marti Johnson of Can Do Canines of New Hope provide fully trained assistance dogs to people with health issues or disabilities.
Mary Kay Ziniewicz started Bus Stop Mamas to help parents connect with jobs and explain the gap on their resumes.
Tri Vo is an Open Eye Theatre puppeteer touring this summer at Minnesota drive-ways, backyards, and churches.
Busy bees Shaun and Claire Mathias are owners of the family-run business Laker Honey.
To submit a nomination for an upcoming episode, email iam.involvd@gmail.com.
View the episodes at www.vnation.us/involvd/ or youtube.com/involvd.

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