Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Save the Date! -- KIDS COUNT COFFEE

Kids Count Coffee-Moorhead - Sept. 25, 1:00 P.M.

Save the date for the Children's Defense Fund -Minnesota KIDS COUNT Coffee.  Learn about regional trends in children's health, education, and economic stability.  Get a special look at Kids Count data from a rural perspective.  Find out about best practices being used across the state to improve outcomes for children, adults and families.  Those attending will receive copies of all presentation materials.   

This year’s 
2012 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book entitled Children Across Minnesota explores the unique challenges of families living in Greater Minnesota and addresses the often overlooked realities of living in rural areas. 

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012*
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Map this event »
Family Service Center
715 11th Street North, Meeting Room 4
Moorhead, MN 56560
Ken Fredette kenf@lakesandprairies.net for more information

Registering to attend is helpful but not mandatory.

You can register by emailing kenf@lakesandprairies.net just put the words KIDS COUNT in the subject line or call 218-299-7315.

* A Kids Count Coffee is also taking place on Wednesday, September 26th at West Central Initiative in Fergus Falls at 10:00 A.M..  Go to www.wcif.org for more information and click on their events calendar.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Voter Registration at Family Service Center September 24th and 25th

As part of National Voter Registration Day activities, Lakes &Prairies Community Action Partnership will participate in Voter Registration activites and help voters find their polling locations.

     DAY/DATE:   Monday, September 24th
                                 Tuesday, September 25th.

     LOCATION:  Clay County Family Service Center (front lobby)
                                 715 11th St. N. Moorhead, MN

     TIMES:           9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Registering now allows time to submit the form to the County and send you a postcard notifying you that you are registed and where to vote.  The last day to register to vote is October 15 unless you register at your polling location on the day of the election.  Registering now could save you much time as polling locations are especially busy when there is a Presidential election.  

No matter how you vote, Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership wants you to know...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MDH Commissioner visits Moorhead

Dr. Ed Ehlinger MN Commissioner of Health, stopped in  Moorhead on Tuesday morning, August 28th as part of his "Pitch the Commissioner" trip around Minnesota. In his visits Dr Erlinger has learned that there are acute needs in most communities and that the public health infrastructure is weakening. 

 Lakes & Prairies Executive Director Joe Pederson who is also chair of the Minnesota Community Action Partnership board of directors "pitched Community Action" as a key partner with MDH and county Public Health in keeping our communities healthy. He discussed with Dr. Ehlinger how Community Action Agencies play a key role in engaging low income and disadvantaged Minnesotans.

Joe Pederson (left), Dr. Erlinger (center), and Moorhead
Mayor Mark Voxland, (right)

What does your community need to be healthy? Lakes & Prairies Board members and staff emphasized the need for safe affordable child care, early childhood education, Head Start and Early Head Start and the importance of dental access for low income families. In the pictures below, Lakes & Prairies board members Lyle Hovland, and Stephanie Miranowski and Joe continue to "pitch Community Action" with Dr. Ehlinger at Davies Park in Moorhead. 

Lyle Hovland, Wilkin County Commissioner and Lakes
& Prairies Board Member pitches Community Action with
Commissioner Ehlinger

Stephanie Minanowski, Wilkin County Commissioner and
Lakes & Prairies Board Secretary/Treasurer pitches
Community Action with Matthew Collie, Legislative
Liaison, MDH.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

State Bank of Hawley donates $2,500

Bruce Tellefson (center), State Bank of Hawley President and Emily
Hagen (left), Personal Banking Officer present a check of $2,500 to Lori Ward,
Lakes & Prairies Director of Operations. 

Bruce Tellefson (center), State Bank of Hawley President
 and Emily Hagen (left), Personal Banking Officer
present a check of $2,500 to Lori Ward, Lakes &
Prairies Director of Operations. 
A $2,500 gift from the State Bank of Hawley became worth even more with a match grant of $1,000 from Dakota Medical Foundation.  The gift and match will be used to support current health & wellness projects and to provide start-up funding for the 2013 Group Workcamp Home Repair project.  

Applications are already being accepted for the home repair project.  The first review of applications will begin November 1, 2012. Additional information can be found on the Lakes & Prairies 
website.  The host community for this project is Hawley, MN where some 400 volunteer youth and adult leaders will come together from across the country to repair homes for seniors, persons with disabilities and families experiencing economic hardship.

Health & wellness projects include ongoing efforts in the areas of counseling and application assistance for Medicare Part D recipients, health related programs for seniors, prescription assistance referral, File of Life materials distribution, and food support outreach projects including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Nutritional Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS).

The gift, the match it created and an earlier gift of $500 for Mobile Food Drops in Clay County adds up to $4,000 of helping people and changing lives.  Thank you State Bank of Hawley.  .  . 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Family & Community Services Staff Receive Awards

Congratulations to (top left to right Marie Oihus, Becki Johnson
Rebekah Nelson, and Sarah Paterson.  And,( lower left to right)
Kala Anderson, Emma Schmidt, and
Colleen Murray, Program Director

The Lakes & Prairies Family & Community Services staff were chosen as the recipient of both the 2011-2012 Transitional Housing Program and the Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Program STAR Awards. The awards recognize and value this agency's contributions to MN’s Homeless Management Information System and efforts to end homelessness around the state.   Not only a job well done, but also a first time that both awards were received by
one agency.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Group Workcamp Home Repair - Applications now Accepted

Helping agencies, community organizations, county social service agencies, faith communities, service organizations, businesses, and others are encouraged to make the below information available to homeowners who might benefit from this home repair project. A simple, one-page application is available on our website that can be printed, filled out, and returned to us.

We will be happy to provide you with posters, flyers, handouts, applications, or scripts for bulletins and newsletters. You can do this by calling the Lakes & Prairies Family & Community Services office at 218-299-7314 or toll free at 800-452-3546.  Thank you.


Are you or someone you know in need of

Home Repair Assistance?

The Lakes & Prairies Group Workcamp Home Repair project is now accepting applications from seniors, persons with disabilities and families experiencing economic hardship.  Eligible individuals or families must be homeowners  and live in Clay County or northern Wilkin County, MN.  Projects that will be considered such as interior/exterior painting and building or repairing a wheelchair ramp, are listed on the application.

Site Selection begins November, 2012.   

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Otto Bremer Foundation presents check for almost $200,000

Left to Right are:
Howard Barlow, Bremer Bank Community Service
Kelli Rohrer, L&P Child Care Resource & Referral;
 Brian Hagen,  President, at Bremer Bank;
Joe Pederson, Executive Director Lakes & Prairies;
Colleen Murray, Director, L&P Family & Community
Lakes & Prairiesreceived a $188,000 grant to benefit low-income children and families.  The check was presented on behalf of the Otto Bremer Foundationby Brian Hagen, president at Bremer Banks.  The grant will be used to: expand Child Care Resource & Referral services; initiate a community-based “Circles of Support” program,  and provide match funding for special projects and initiatives including Group Workcamp Home Repair, the Lakes & Prairies Tax Site, Food Support outreach, and Clay County Seniors.

At the presentation, Pederson spoke of the
importance of this grant to maintain and expand needed services for children and families.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Top Ten Head Start Outcomes

Top Ten Lakes and Prairies CAP
Head Start Outcomes!
 Our program has been fully enrolled with a waiting list all year.

Our average daily attendance is 88 percent.

We are one of eight Head Start programs in the nation selected as members of a Learning Community around Parent, Family, & Community Engagement.

96.3% of enrolled Head Start children left last year’s program up-to-date on a schedule of preventive well child care.

98.7% of children left the program having had a dental exam. All of these children left with a “dental home” also.

99.6% children left the program with all of their immunizations up-to-date.

There were 57,915 nutritious meals and snack served to Lakes and Prairies Head Start children this year.

Each child enrolled in one of our classrooms had 65 hours of large motor play outside or in the gym this school year.

School Readiness Goals are aligned with the Minnesota Early Learning Standards and the Head start Outcomes Framework.

All CLASS observations have met or exceeded the minimal criteria as determined by the Office of Head Start

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tax Filing Season a Success Thanks to Volunteers

Thanks to the work of 27 volunteers who contributed 897 hours of their time to assist low and moderate income households with their 2011 tax filings, we can report:

  • Federal and State refunds of $1,538,761 for 709 households
  • An estimated $170,000 saved in filing fees
  • Screenings of 182 households for eligibility for other benefits

Doing the math:  Whether tax site volunteers were greeters, tax preparers, reviewers, or providing clerical support, each hour any volunteer contributed had the outccome of refunding an average of $2,170 to an individual or family.  Volunteers do make a difference! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Holly Nett completes CCR&R Leadership Development Program

Holly Nett, Child Care Consultation Manager at Lakes & Prairies Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R), completed a 3-year leadership development program offered by the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA).  Nett was one of four individuals selected nationally for the intensive mentoring, training, internship, and service opportunities program in the Child Care Resource & Referral field.  During those three years, Nett completed two, 2-week internships.  One focused on child care consultation at the Indiana Association of Child Care Resource & Referral in Indianapolis, IN, in 2010 and a national public policy internship in Washington D.C. in 2011.  Nett has been with Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership, CCR&R for 17 years.  The CCR&R program provides services in northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lakes & Prairies VITA Tax Site Receives Generous Support from Bank of the West

Bank of the West Branch Area Manager Scott Green (left) and
Moorhead Branch Manager Kari Saurdiff (2nd from right)

present two checks totaling $5,000 for our Volunteer Income Tax
Assistance Program.  Receiving the checks are Joe Pederson,
Lakes & Prairies Executive Director and Brenda Maaninga,
Tax Site Coordinator and Director of Finance.

The Lakes & Prairies Free Tax Site is now in its 7th year.  During these years the tax site has grown from serving 84 to now more than 650 households annually.  Last year households received more than $1.65 million in refunds and saved an estimated $150,000 to $200,000 in tax preparation fees.  Eligible households also received information about federal benefits and other opportunities that could further leverage their income.  The growth of the tax site to what it is today could not have taken place without the financial support of individuals and businesses in our communities.  The gifts presented by Bank of the West (BOTW) will help cover costs related to tax site operations and outreach to help low and moderate income families in their efforts to achieve family economic stability and success.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Child Care Resource & Referral receives Star Award

Pictured at the award ceremony (from left to right) are:
Dr. Joel Haugen, Dakota Medical Foundation Board Chair,
Sonya Fisher - CCR&R Professional Development Manager,
Linda Lembke - CCR&R Director, and
Pat Traynor, CEO, Dakota Medical Foundation
Child Care Resource & Referral was awarded a Star Award from Dakota Medical Foundation to recognize leadership in promoting healthy eating and active living in regional child care programs.  GoFar was also featured in their annual report.

Congratulations, Sonya and Linda and the entire CCR&R team!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Going to Harvard!

Well, for a few days anyway.   Lakes and Prairies Head Start staff are excited to be part of a Professional Learning Community on Parent, Family and Community Engagement.  Pam Bernstein, Head Start Program Director, Kristin Phillips, Early Childhood and Special Services Manager, and Shanna Grefsrud, Transportation/Parent Involvement Manager, will travel to Boston, MA  in late March to work with other Head Start Staff at the  Harvard Family Research Center.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dakota Medical Foundation - $5,000 Match Grant

Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership has received a match grant in the amount of $5,000 from Dakota Medical Foundation to support an initiative called "Putting Healthy Options Within Reach."
The match grant will work to:






Dakota Medical Foundation, Fargo, ND, focuses its efforts on improving health and access to medical and dental care in the region, with a special emphasis on children. Since 1996, the Foundation has invested over $42 million to 387 nonprofit organizations in the region. For more information, see www.dakmed.org. 
Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership is a nonprofit organization. Its programs include Family & Community Services, Clay County Seniors, Child Care Resource & Referral, Rainbow Bridge, Clay-Wilkin Head Start, and the Lakes & Prairies Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lakes & Praires shares in Best Practice Award presented to West Central Initiative

Nancy Straw, President, West Central 
Initiative receives the Best Practice award
presented by Steve Nagle, Executive Director
of West Central MN Communities Action
Leadership Academy participants and Community Action
staff from  the 4 CAPs listen as award description
is presented by Catherine Solheim, Associate Professor 
Family Social Science, 
University of Minnesota College of Education & Human 

Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership shared in the "Leadership Academy -- Best Practice" award presented in St. Paul on February 15th.  Nancy Straw, President, West Central Initiative received the award for WCI's leadership in facilitating and providing support for the project.  Lakes and Prairies had 4 participants last year and will be sending 7 new Leadership Academy participants this spring.  Other CAP agencies sharing in the award were Mahube Community Council, Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council and West Central Minnesota Communities Action.

The Practice:  Too often, the full potential of leaders goes untapped.  The Leadership Academy helps previously undiscovered, low income leaders realize their power and take more active roles in building their communities' future.  The Academy provides a space and structure for people to acquire and practice competencies that result in becoming more effective leaders.  The Impact:  Preliminary results are pomising, indicating that participants have become more involved in their communities, are accepting formal or informal leadership positions and have become more effective community advocates.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lakes & Prairies Receives Promising Practice Award

Staff, volunteers, board members and program participants
came forward to receive the award.
Brenda Maaninga, Lakes & Prairies Tax Site
Coordinator  accepts award on behalf of volunteers
and staff who worked together for the success
of this effort.

The  "Banking the Unbanked" through our VITA Tax Siteproject received a Promising Practice award at the Minnesota Community Action Partnership Best Practice ceremony held on February 15th in St. Paul.

The Practice:  Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership has incorporated pre-paid debit card services as a method to provide low cost banking services to the previously unbanked. 

Households utilizing VITA Tax Site services were offered the opportunity to sign up for a pre-paid debit card to deposit their refund.  The Impact: The pre-paid debit card provides the households the ability to build savings, avoid predatory lending practices and work toward financial security.The debit cards are FDIC insured, very low fees, and protect against the possibility of overdraft.