"Spotlight" on Philip community development to be September 13

During a presentation at the August 14 meeting at the Philip Chamber of Commerce, guest speaker Dan Oedekoven summarized the "Spotlight" program which is coming to Philip.

The South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service will continue its community development work with small towns in South Dakota with the help of a second major grant from the Northwest Area Foundation. The two-year grant will assist communities by offering access to resources that will build a stronger future for residents.

SDSU Extension began working with community development in 2004 with the assistance of a Northwest Area Foundation grant that emphasized developing local leaders to deal with challenges such as poverty. Timber Lake, Isabel and Dupree were the first communities selected.

Communities involved in this new round of the program must have fewer than 5,000 residents and a poverty rate of greater than 10 percent as of the 2000 census, according to Fruechte.

"An application process will be available to any community that qualifies by attending one of eight 'Spotlight' events being held this Fall in South Dakota. At least five people from the community must be present at a Spotlight in order to start the application process," Fruechte said.

The Spotlight session in Philip will be Wednesday, September 13, at the Philip School. It will be free and open to the public, beginning at 4:00 p.m. and concluding at 9:00 p.m. Supper will be served.

SDSU Extension will host six "Spotlight" events around the state in September and October. These evening sessions will give community members a chance to come together to preview resources for leadership and poverty reduction that communities will use during the two years of the grant. Communities that qualify and are interested can also begin the application process at the Spotlight events.

"Individuals who are willing to step forward to learn about ways to improve their community through leadership and poverty education are encouraged to attend. Communities are invited to send as many representatives as possible, but at least five people must be in attendance in order to apply for the grant," Fruechte said.

Individuals must pre-register for an accurate meal count. Contact Debbie Bortnem at (605) 688-5131 or bortnem.debbie@ces.sd state.edu to reserve a space. For further information about the grant, contact Kari Fruechte at (605) 688-4946 or at fruechte.kari @ces.sdstate.edu.