Thursday, May 28, 2009

Building Healthy Communities

What is community? And what makes a health community?

At Bremer we talk a lot about “community” and building healthy ones. In fact Bremer’s vision is – Build Healthy Communities through Partnerships. The Otto Bremer Foundation through community convenings, and discussions with Bremer Bank partners and affiliates have determined that for a community to thrive these key components must be present: a strong economy, responsive resources, and an engaged citizenry.

It is the last component that I would like to address. Living in a small community, I appreciate and understand what it means to build a community through relationships with people (the citizens). When someone is sick or has been injured – the community rallies with dinners, auctions, and volunteers. When college students return to Morris in the Fall, businesses, churches and community members come together for events to welcome them to town.

A new event that started in Morris this year was a community meal, the brainchild of a UMM college student looking for ways to bring the campus and the community together. This idea turned into four community meals that were sponsored by different businesses and involved volunteers from the college, the high school, businesses and community members. It is estimated that over 600 people attended the meals. Through these meals, people were fed (free of charge) and relationships were fostered.

I believe citizens become engaged in their communities when they feel they have some ownership in them – when they build and develop relationship with their neighbors and fellow community members. These things happen by working together, volunteering together, spending time together and eating together!

Posted by Holly Witt, NRS, Alexandria

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