Today we continue our blog series on Hoffman, MN. As we reported last week, Hoffman is a town in east central Minnesota of less than a thousand people. The town was selected to participate in the Northwest Area Foundation's Horizons program to eradicate poverty. We will be following Hoffman through this program and beyond.
In early December the Pew Partnership trained around 50 people representing 15 communities around Minnesota in our nationally recognized community leadership program, LeadershipPlenty (see article about South Dakota training). Four people from Hoffman are now licensed as trainers to offer the program in Hoffman. There was a meeting about the program just this week so things are off and running there. Hoffman (and every other rural community) knows that building the capacity of local leadership is critical. As a result of this program 25 more people in this community will have new skills to apply not only to poverty eradication but to a range of issues facing the community. So what are some of those issues facing communities like Hoffman?
The Center for Rural Affairs just released a report concerning health issues facing rural areas. Among them obesity, lack of physical activity, and diet. While Hoffman has a different mission for now my guess is that a multitude of issues related to work force and personal well being will surface. We now know that poverty is not just an individual issue but a system's issue also. To get an idea of the kinds of issues Hoffman and other communities across the northwest will be addressing in the Horizons program, read this guide prepared by Everyday Democracy. You will be hearing directly from the folks in Hoffman in the coming weeks about their progress and their town.