Series: Reports for the Freeborn County Communities Foundation

Published 9:50 am Monday, April 6, 2015

Ann Austin of the United Way of Freeborn County, right, and Jillian Peterson, board chairwoman of the Freeborn County Community Foundation. - Provided

Ann Austin of the United Way of Freeborn County, right, and Jillian Peterson, board chairwoman of the Freeborn County Community Foundation. – Provided

Organization: United Way of Freeborn County

Project: The United Way of Freeborn County collaborates to connect people, resources and ideas to create a thriving community characterized by measurable and long-lasting improvements in education, income and health.

Report: The United Way encouraged organizations to think collaboratively this year, requesting collaborative applications for the first time in the history of the organization.

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These collaborations will identify better systems with which to approach community issues not one organization can resolve on their own.

Below are some of the collaborations beginning in 2015, with the community’s support:

Quality out of school time: The Children’s Center, The Arc of Freeborn County, The Albert Lea Family Y, Parks and Recreation, Mayo Clinic and Albert Lea Area Schools have joined together to provide programming for all youth who are currently not enrolled in sports or other activities. The group will develop a template for out-of-school time programming focusing on reducing learning loss, safety, health and wellness, integration and fun.

Mental health collaboration: Catholic Charities, along with Mayo Clinic Health System and Freeborn County, the Chamber Worksite Wellness Committee and independent providers will complete mental health education and awareness events. The goal of this effort is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and ensure more people receive the help they need.

Domestic violence collaboration: Parenting Resource Center, Crime Victims Crisis Center, Group Support Services, Freeborn County Corrections and the Department of Human Services are collaborating to form the Freeborn County Domestic Violence Partnership. This centralizes the safety of adult victims and their children and provides comprehensive services and a coordinated response.

Food access collaboration: Senior Resources, Semcac and Meals on the Go will collaborate to reduce insufficient access to meal delivery for those people experiencing nutritional insecurity. They will focus on increasing the number of people who can receive meals and the amount of meals delivered.

The United Way of Freeborn County is also part of advocacy in several areas, including ending poverty, early childhood education, job and income stability and mental health.

Early childhood leadership gathered to discuss ways to engage local providers with ParentAware, a rating system that will evaluate programs to assure they are helping children be developmentally ready for kindergarten.

There were 169 families to sign up for Imagination Library.

Bankers, employers and nonprofit directors met to discuss areas for outreach.