[Audio] New Program in Pine City Aims at Fighting Poverty

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 10:49 am

A new program to help fight poverty in Pine City is in the startup stages. ‘Horizons’ aims at helping the community explore poverty, the sources of poverty and to help build community leadership and eventually a stronger community. Recently, 30 local citizens signed a petition to start a “Horizons” program for Pine City. Pine City was identified as a qualifying community by having a population under 5,000 and a poverty rate of at least 10-percent.

Hear Comment’s From Lezlie Ballis, who is helping with the program:

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Horizons is an 18 month program that once completed rewards the community with $10,000 in grant funds to use as a “seed” for further community development programs and projects. The program is now searching for 10 volunteers to help facilitate the program. A kickoff program is scheduled for sometime in October.

Horizons is an 18 month program that once completed rewards the community with $10,000 in grant funds to use as a “seed” for further community development programs and projects. Horizons is funded by the Northwest Area Foundation- whose mission is to reduce poverty in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The first step that Pine City needs to complete in order to keep participating in the Horizons program is to recruit 10 people interested in helping facilitate the program. These 10 volunteers would then receive training (approximately 6 hours) on how to start “study circles” which help get citizens talking together on the issues that face in the community and possible solutions to those problems.

A “Kick-Off” Event will take place early in October, introducing the facilitators to the community. At the event, it will be the goal to recruit at least 60 people to join our facilitators in the Study Circle component of the program. The trained facilitators then lead 6 people each through the Study Circle workbook, which takes approximately 10 hours to go through, and can be spaced out over a few weeks. The Horizons program just requires that the Study Circle component be completed by the first week in December, so another community event can be hosted by the Horizons program to introduce the ideas that were discussed through the Study Circle groups, and to introduce the next step of the program.

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