Guest Column: Let’s work together to help the community

Published 9:12 am Thursday, July 21, 2016

Guest Column by Gloria Olson

Gloria Olson is a chairwoman with Lift One Lift All.

Leaders Partnering to End Poverty is a Blandin Foundation program designed to bring together community members to deepen their understanding of poverty, build relationships and develop participants’ leadership ability.

Gloria Olson

Gloria Olson

Email newsletter signup

LPEP was an intensive journey many community members engaged in throughout 2014-15 and included several community conversations, educational presentations and other activities designed to help our community recognize how we can work to better serve our neighbors.

In May 2015, Lift One Lift All: Beyond Poverty in Freeborn County originated from the Blandin Foundation training. The membership of Lift One Lift All: Beyond Poverty in Freeborn County partners with the community to bring all voices together, advocating and raising awareness to lift all beyond poverty.

We would like to share our accomplishments with the residents of Freeborn County.

In spring 2015, several Lift One Lift All members visited the state capital to meet with our state representatives to bring our concerns about housing needs in rural Minnesota.

Last year, the Community Resource Center was developed for newcomers to the community and community members to have a place to obtain community resources. It is now located at 314 S. Broadway in the old Christian and Peterson building.

A National Alliance on Mental Illness connection support group was created. The recovery group is for adults living with mental illness.  There is no charge to attend the 90-minute weekly meeting. All meetings are led by trained individuals who are also in recovery. Facilitators of the support group understand the challenges of living with mental illness. The connection support group meets from 5 to 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the Next Step Clubhouse, 216 S. Washington Ave. There is no registration or enrollment obligation required; just walk in.

A housing committee is investigating what housing options (transitional housing for men, women’s shelter, etc.)are available for Freeborn County.

Currently, we are partnering with Albert Lea Area Learning Center and the STARS program to begin a mentor program for the students. If you would like to become a mentor, contact Mary Jo Volkman at

Let’s all work together to establish a healthy community. Please consider joining one of our efforts by contacting me, Gloria Olson, at 507-402-9165.