AMES, Iowa – An Iowa State University Extension program to help lift residents of the state’s small towns out of poverty was recognized nationally for its effectiveness.
Iowa Horizons, an 18-month program, reached nearly 6,000 people in 20 communities ranging in population from 500 to 5,000, received the Excellence in Teamwork Award at the national Joint Council of Extension Professionals meeting held recently in Indianapolis. The program also was honored by the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals at the same meeting.
A total of 1,030 people guided by 202 trained community facilitators learned about poverty through Study Circles. Some 750 community volunteers completed 30 hours of leadership training.
Leadership successes included election of participants to city councils in seven communities; mayor in two; appointments to unexpired city council terms in two communities and two appointments to the local Economic Development Board. Local churches and civic organizations also benefited from skills learned through LeadershipPlenty®.
Major food collection and distribution in Greenfield led one bride to ask bridal shower guests to bring a favorite recipe for her and canned food items for donation to the local food pantry. In December, Alta gathered 2,500 pounds of food for the “No Hungry Neighbors” food drive.
In Waukon, an owner of an apartment complex discounts tenants’ rent $25 if they participate in a money management course offered locally by ISU Extension. The need for the course was identified through the Horizons visioning process.
A new Headstart program in Elma served five children for 2007-2008. In June, 2008 - 30 new daycare slots were made available through a $50,000 USDA grant and $130,000 in local funds.
Ruth Freeman lead program efforts in Iowa. Team members also honored by name included community coaches Donna Donald, Mary Beth Kaufman, Joyce Lash, Brenda Schmitt, Mary Weinand, Barbara Wollan and Phyllis Zalenski; Don Broshar, state advisory committee and visioning facilitator and Abbie Gaffey, visioning facilitator and Expanding Horizons presenter. About 40 extension staffers participated in delivering the program’s components.
Horizons is the outgrowth of ISU Extension work with funding from the Northwest Area Foundation. Horizons programs were carried out in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington.
Two high resolution photos are available for use with this story.
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Members of the Iowa Horizons Team who accepted the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Award at the organization’s annual meeting in Indianapolis were, from left, Brenda Schmitt, Donna Donald and Mary Beth Kaufman, extension family resource management specialists and Horizons community coaches.
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Members of the Iowa Horizons Team who accepted the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Award for the Iowa Horizons Project were, from left, Donna Donald, Brenda Schmitt and Mary Beth Kaufman, extension family resource management specialists and Horizons community coaches; and JaneAnn Stout, Extension to Families program director.