Today: Kari Berit, The Unexpected Caregiver (Pederson)
Birthdays: Russ Halverson (5/15) and Kurt Larson, yes “the” Kurt Larson (5/16)
Next Week: No Meeting
Jim Blaha introduced our speaker by reciting the Community Action Center credo: “Ending Poverty in Northfield in our Lifetime.” This was inspired, in part, by the work of our speaker, Dave Phillips from Cincinnati Works.
Dave and his wife, Liane, tried to retire in the early 1990s, but their plans were interrupted by a newfound commitment to breaking the poverty cycle in their home town of Cincinnati. Fifty percent of Cincinnati’s children live in poverty. Dave and Liane wanted to be sure their grandchildren and other children had the same opportunities they had growing up.
In 1996, they established Cincinnati Works, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those in poverty find stable employment and work towards self-sufficiency. It is one of the most successful poverty employment services in the country. Cincinnati Works has sent 700 clients back to work. After one year, 650 were still employed At that point the program re-intervenes to teach a specific skill. Of this group, 500 are completely “off the dole” completely after eight years. The program has paid dividends. Thirteen million dollars was spent on employment and retention services; this group collectively earned $70 million in 2013. Some clients take as long as 10-11 years to succeed, but eventually are self sufficient
After Hurricane Katrina, Dave and Liane realized this was more than a post-retirement gig for them and decided to share the concept with other cities. They were asked by the City of Houston to set up a Houston Works program and they are now working in several cities around the country.
Northfield is now embarking on Northfield Works through the CAC. The first training session has been held at the NCRC and an official launch will be forthcoming.
To end poverty, Dave said we must set bold goals, understand that poverty is unacceptable, see people as an asset, come together as a community, connect with a zealot, eliminate “can’t” and “no” from our vocabulary. They have a book available on Amazon called: “Why Don’t They Just Get a Job?” Royalties from a sale are reinvested in the program.
Last Week’s Guests: GSE from Sweden – Uibele, Dan, Ola, Therese; our Exchange Students; Elin Odegaard, an outgoing GSE team member from Northfield. Guests from Invite A Guest Day were acknowledged. Some are hosts for the exchange students. Please consider being a host and please consider joining if you are already a host.
Scholarship Enhancement: Todd Thompson
Dale Ness said we are starting to line up sponsors for the Jesse James Bike Tour. Please let him know if you would like to be a corporate or individual sponsor. Your logo or name will go on the t-shirt.
Larry Propst from the Woodbury Rotary Club came to present checks from the district and the Woodbury club for our project to send shoes to the Congo. He thanked Betsy Spethmann and Charlie Cogan for persevering with their project after the Congo was blacklisted by the State Department.
Corbin Gett and Scout Gregerson were each presented with a $1,500 college Rotray scholarships at the recent high school awards banquet.
Scholarship Enhancement – Todd Thompson
May 22 – John Sinning, Classification (Estenson)
May 29 – Dayna Norvold, Habitat for Humanity (Hall)
June 5 – Lara Palmquist, Global Grant Scholar (Weber