Horizons III seeks 15 new South Dakota communities | TSLN.com

Horizons III seeks 15 new South Dakota communities

The South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service seeks 15 communities in South Dakota to take part in a third round of the poverty reduction program.

The Horizons project is open to communities with populations of 5,000 or fewer where the poverty rate is 10 percent or greater. The deadline for application is Aug. 5, 2008.

To apply or get more information, communities should call Horizons project director Kari Fruechte, (605) 688-4946, or e-mail her at Kari.Fruechte@sdstate.edu.

In order to take part, communities must set up a meeting with Fruechte and have at least 15 people in attendance. The meeting will explain the project and answer questions about the program’s requirements.

After the initial meeting, communities will fill out and submit an application. Once selected, the 15 communities that make up the Horizons project for 2008-2010 will form steering committees, work with the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service staff to execute the project, and involve as many community members as possible in planning for and bringing about positive changes in their towns.

Communities selected will receive training and resources on topics including leadership, poverty reduction, community development, visioning, and strategic planning. Communities will plan action to enhance their internal resources as well as learn how to approach outside resource partners.

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“This will be our third year, and we are excited to welcome 15 new communities to Horizons,” said Horizons project director Kari Fruechte. “We’ve seen true transformation across South Dakota, and the towns who have taken part will attest to the program’s value and success in combating the many aspects of poverty.”

Twenty-one communities took part in the Horizons project that ends in 2008; four communities were part of the 2004-to-2006 project.

Fruechte said about 94,000 South Dakotans live below the poverty line, based on U.S. Census data. “Poverty comes in many forms, and it should concern us. Too many small towns are dwindling in population and losing hope, and that trend can be reversed,” she said. “The Horizons project is a good fit in a state where 28 percent of households have incomes below $25,000.”

The Northwest Area Foundation in St. Paul funds the Horizons project. It is a 20-month grant project aimed at reducing poverty and building leadership in rural communities.

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