Marissa Brown of Lamberton recently graduated from the first Growing Local: Emerging Leaders cohort. Marissa is inspired by the creativity, kindness and camaraderie of her neighbors; she applied to the program to develop her leadership skills to help her community thrive. “Leaders are the motivators to grassroots efforts that happen in small towns and are necessary to get things accomplished and make ideas a reality,” Marissa said.
The Growing Local: Emerging Leaders program is a leadership education program that supports emerging leaders in southwest Minnesota and is a partnership with University of Minnesota Extension. The program provides tools and resources for participants to build their confidence and empowers them to shape the future of their communities.
“I truly enjoy community engagement. I have a passion for this type of work and love that I can be a connector between needs and resources. Being a part of this cohort helped me become a more confident leader to better serve my community,” Marissa said.
Like many small towns, Lamberton has its challenges, including too few daycare openings, infrastructure that needs repair, a lack of variety of employment opportunities and not enough funding for projects like a public pool. But according to Marissa, the opportunities outweigh those challenges. Young families are moving back, and a new school is being built. The city is working on increasing accessibility and safety for residents of all ages. Gas stations, the grocery store and a few locally owned businesses offer convenient options for food and other necessities. The Lamberton Area Community Foundation supports local initiatives and community building events. Most importantly, people in Lamberton care about each other.
When Marissa thinks about the future of Lamberton, she feels hopeful. “Many community members are actively working towards better opportunities for Lamberton. It makes me feel excited because I know that there are many amazing things to come for our town,” Marissa said. “I love the community I live in. I want to help make a difference for my community and to make Lamberton a place everyone wants to live, work and play.”
A gift in support of our mission helps community leaders tackle emerging opportunities and challenges.