Top 3 Vibrant Communities | January 25 – 29
February 1, 2016 by Blandin Foundation
1) Cherry: Even rugged northern Minnesotans might not have the necessary skills and knowledge to survive natural disasters like an avalanche or tornado. That’s something a class of ninth graders from Cherry School wants to change. Working on real-world issues, student teams are using technology, science, engineering and math to create new solutions to age-old problems — solutions like an automated oxygen suits for those caught in an avalanche, blow out doors for houses in a tornado’s path and a Farm-to-School Program, which consists of building a year-round greenhouse.
“It’s excited because the students are getting to work on things that are interesting to them, but also challenging,” said Principal Scott Hall. “The students aren’t just learning, they’re having fun while doing it.”
2) Vergas, Wolf Lake and Frazee: Connecting communities to build cohesiveness is tough work. So when seven local leaders were brainstorming how to go about it, they landed on a project that would literally connect them — through a mobile food pantry. What started out as an idea while attending Blandin Leadership training is now turning into reality as the group pulls together the people and financial resources needed. The group hopes that with a mobile food pantry, issues of transportation to existing food shelves and volunteer recruitment will be resolved. Once up and running, the group hopes to expand to have school supplies and coats in the winter.
“One thing I have recognized is people want to give, they just need a spot to give it to,” said Sherri Hanson. “And if they have a connection to it, it’s even better.”
3) Cook County: Rural communities around the state are all exploring ways to attract entrepreneurs and young people, but the natural beauty of Cook County might just give them a leg up. Challenges, like housing and year-round jobs, are causing big hurdles though. Knowing these had to be address, local leaders came together to form the GO Team to assess economic priorities and get to work on the most promising ones. In the last handful of years, they formed a countywide chamber of commerce, brought together Visit Cook County MN and boosted activity at the county’s economic development authority. They’re not stopping there!
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