On Friday, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council held a public forum, in Crookston, as part of their two-year planning cycle. Director Dennis P. DeMers detailed the history of Tri-Valley with attendees as well as sharing that "Tri-Valley has data the suggests they have been successful in their mission to improve the quality of life for consumers over the past 40 years."
The purpose of the forum was not only to share the where the organization had been in the past, but to update the community on where they currently stand and their focus for the future. Driven by its board of directors, Tri-Valley will, according to Demers, "place their efforts toward three main priorities in this planning cycle - early childhood education, keeping seniors out of nursing home facilities as long as possible and informing the community as to what they are doing."
When DeMers opened the floor to ask community members where they felt additional needs existed, the list was lengthy. Washington School principal Denise Oliver spoke about both the need to for slots for early childhood programming as well as difficulties with Head Start Transportation. Others in attendance brought up speaking points, including:
• Additional transitional housing in Crookston
• Housing for those recently released from jail or prison and their families
• Additional services aimed toward cultural awareness
• Community events to aid non-athletic children toward a healthier lifestyle
• Mental health and family issue services within the school system
• A safe place for all children to spend time before and after school
DeMers believes "all of these issues can be fixed, but not just by government. It will take the individual, the business and government."
Additional Tri-Valley community forums are scheduled in Warren and Ada this week. For more information, contact Tri-Valley Opportunity Council at 281-5832.