Top 3 Vibrant Communities | December 7 – 11
December 11, 2015 by Blandin Foundation
1) Austin: As the first snow touches down in many places throughout Minnesota, community leaders in Austin are already looking to the summer. Last week, a local committee gathered to start planning for the annual flowerbasket fundraising drive to raise $20,000 to bring 240 flower baskets to town.
“It’s one of the first things people notice when they come to town,” said Mayor Tom Stiehm.
“It’s keeping our downtown alive and beautiful,” said Kelsey Ritchie.
2) Grand Rapids: Stitching together patterns of rainbows, castles, flowers and friends, two Grand Rapids women worked area fourth graders to create We Care Quilts, made specifically for children who have gone through crisis.
“These will be given to kids in crisis to cuddle with and know that other kids care about them,” said organizer Jackie DeNucci.
3) Rural Minnesota: A vibrant community is a healthy community. In rural Minnesota, a shortage of trained mental health professionals has impacted the well being of many rural residents. In the 2015 legislative session, the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program budget swelled from $740,000 to $3.25 million, offering a strong incentive for new mental health practitioners to enter into an underserved area. With this new opportunity, rural Minnesota communities can look forward to having quality care close by.
“We are looking for people who are committed to helping the underserved,” said Will Wilson, supervisor of the Minnesota Department of Healthy’s Primary Care Financial and Technical Assistance Unit of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care.
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