Top 3 Vibrant Communities | April 25 – 29
April 29, 2016 by Blandin Foundation
1) Bigfork: A vibrant community is one in which all people have opportunities to improve the quality of their lives. In Bigfork, Minnesota, one program is going the distance to ensure those who have trouble living on their own due to physical or mental disability still have the ability to participate in community life. Members of the Bigfork Valley Day Stay Program have access to personal care, medication management, shopping and medical appointment assistance — all of which keep them active and engaged in community life.
2) Austin: Kathy and Ron Howard know that youth hold the key to a future healthy community. That’s why in retirement they’ve chosen to volunteer their time to help the next generation succeed by gathering with first graders every week to practice math and reading skills.
“The reason why it’s so important is because we have a lot of students who don’t have the academic support at home, or the teachers have over 20 students and some of the students need more individualized attention,” said Gema Alvarado, success coach at Banfield Elementary School. “We’re just really grateful to have this program here at Banfield and we hope to continue it for many years to come.”
3) Willmar: After being dormant for a number of years, the Willmar Human Rights Commission is back and ready to establish positive relationships in community. Created to “facilitate equal opportunity and improve human relations for all citizens,” the Human Rights Commission members met with a sister group from St. Cloud to learn what’s worked there and how it might be applied in Willmar. The big takeaway? Communication and relationship building are key to successful change.
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