A national poverty expert’s visit to Concordia, a report on a successful signature drive and an update on the soon-to-be-ready community garden will top an action-packed agenda at the next community forum Tuesday, Feb. 16.
The session is from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, 13th and Washington streets. Lunch is provided at no cost, but those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, 243-2149 or email@example.com.
The meeting is the ninth in a series of “working lunches” hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, and any resident of Concordia or elsewhere in Cloud County is encouraged to attend. You do not have to have attended an earlier session to take part.
Items leading the agenda include:
• Details about the visit by Dr. Donna Beegle, who will present a workshop and an evening lecture March 30 on how Concordia can address poverty.
Dr. Beegle, a national expert on poverty based in the Portland, Ore., area, grew up in a migrant labor family. At 15 she dropped out of school, married, and by 25 was a homeless divorced mother with two children. Through a pilot program that helped her gain self-confidence as well as connections to resources and mentors, she returned to school, eventually achieving a doctorate in educational leadership. For the past 17 years she has conducted research on poverty, authored “See Poverty… Be the Difference” and founded the non-profit PovertyBridge to work directly with people in poverty.
The daylong workshop is designed for professionals who work with people in poverty, and there will be a $20 registration fee, which includes lunch. The evening session will be presented at the Brown Grand Theatre as part of the Cook Lecture Series and is open to the public and free of charge.
• The Concordia Year of Peace Committee’s Civility Pledge signature drive, which began in early December. The results were published in a full-page ad in the Concordia Blade-Empire on Feb. 10.
A total of 244 Concordians signed the pledge, which asks that they be civil in “public discourse and behavior,” treat others with respect and stand against public incivility whenever they see it.
The Concordia pledge is part of a nationwide effort that started a number of years ago to remove personal attacks from debate discussion of important public issues.
• The “Concordia Community Garden of Hope,” which should be ready for planting late this spring. The Nazareth Motherhouse has donated a large plot on its grounds for the garden, and a group of community volunteers has been meeting to plan the garden, formulate rules and get ready for spring.
At Tuesday’s lunch, there will be a variety of other reports from small groups that have grown out of the community forums. Work is still being done on:
• Regional public transportation
• An emergency medical clinic
• Other Year of Peace projects
• A mediation center in Concordia
Anyone interested in any of these projects, or with ideas for the kinds of solutions the forum should be seeking, is invited to attend the Feb. 16 lunch.