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GRANITE FALLS, Minn. —Grow Our Own: Supporting Our Kids—From Cradle to Career, will air Thursday, January 31 at 9 p.m. on Pioneer Public Television. This program is a collaboration between Pioneer Public Television and Southwest Initiative Foundation to raise awareness about the economic and social realities facing today’s youth, and the role all community members play in equipping them for lifelong success.
Experts cited in the program say the American Dream is an illusion for children across the country, including those in rural southwest Minnesota where about one-in-six children lives in poverty. The broadcast highlights a November 2018 summit that gathered employers, community leaders, elected officials, educators and students in Marshall to hear national thought leaders and Minnesota success stories.
The program includes an exclusive interview with Nisha Patel, who helped lead the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty and co-authored the 2018 report “Restoring the American Dream.” She shared with the audience that hard work isn’t enough for families anymore, pointing out: “Nowhere in the U.S. can a full-time, minimum wage worker afford a two-bedroom apartment.”
Program experts introduce strategies for mobility from poverty that align with efforts already underway in southwest Minnesota. Southwest Initiative Foundation launched a movement called Grow Our Own in 2016 to help close the opportunity gap for kids living in poverty. It focuses on five pillars a child needs to succeed: stable families and parenting, quality early childhood experiences, engagement during the K-12 years, safe and caring communities and pathways to successful careers.
“This cradle-to-career strategy focuses on setting our kids up to be southwest Minnesota’s next generation of employees, entrepreneurs, community leaders, volunteers, homeowners and parents,” said Southwest Initiative Foundation President/CEO Diana Anderson. “We’re thrilled to have partners across the region, including Pioneer Public Television, engaging in this work to help all our kids reach their full potential.”
“Pioneer has made a commitment to serving the children of working families with quality educational programming for more than 50 years,” said Pioneer General Manager Les Heen. “This partnership with SWIF in broadcasting this vital information is at the core of our mission.”
Additional videos, including full presentations from summit speakers, will be available online at www.pioneer.org/growourown after the broadcast. Pioneer Public Television and Southwest Initiative Foundation hope this broadcast is used as a tool for community conversations and inspires local action.
“Our rural communities are working from a position of strength,” Anderson said. “We have good schools, safe neighborhoods and a strong spirit of collaboration across sectors and communities. And we cannot let those assets lull us into thinking that it will all work out. We must envision what we want for our children and what we want our communities to look like 10, 20, 30 years from now and work toward that vision.”
About Pioneer Public Television
Established in 1966, Pioneer Public TV is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to sharing local stories of the region with the world. For more information visit: www.pioneer.org.
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $75 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs.