On Wednesday November 18th, we had the great opportunity to share with the community our vision. John Wilson from the #PenniesFromHeavenFoundation and Lynne Russell of the #UnitedWayofMasonCounty were able to share the vision that former their partnership in developing Mason County as a Community of Choice.
John Wilson shared how he and his family decided to give back to this community and wanted to address the greatest needs. This community is like a family, and as a family we can do better in taking care of each other.
In asking what those greatest needs were from local leaders, Lynne Russell had a unique answer- #ThinkDifferently
From that partnership Mason County has developed several successful programs. The Lakeshore Employer Resource Network (LERN) assists in workforce development. Oaktree Academy increased affordable and quality daycare capacity that helps educate the next generation early, and provides a resource to working families. Mason County Family Link created a resource and collaboration structure in the local school systems to provide support, and access to care within the schools so that teachers can teach, and do not need to also be counselors and social workers.
Along that line, the Pennies From Heaven Foundation has also supported the Gateway to Success Academy, a new alternative education school that is looking to take the struggling and at risk students and help them to obtain their high school diplomas and be successful in society.
Now comes the next piece and collaboration, the Lakeshore Resource Network. More than a Food Pantry - a Community Resource Center!
What started as a few members of the community curious about how the food pantry and food assistance could be done differently, is now the framework for a whole new way of giving service. This project really looks at how to make it easy for those households and families that want to make a different and change their life, to bridge the gap. We all know the saying give a man a fish he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The Lakeshore Resource Network aims to be a pantry that not only gives, but teaches.
As we shared the frame work that we have developed from the research, and the struggles of current program to the efficiency of collaboration, and the frame work for doing it differently with a "food club" model, we were thrilled to receive such a warm welcome into the community.
We have developed a framework for this resource, and now is the time to work on filling in that framework.
We still need to re-build, and we still have a lot of work ahead to open, but we know that if we work together, we can use this incredible space and make an incredible resource.