Moorhead has leadership workshopsThe Blandin Foundation will soon conduct a series of workshops in Moorhead aimed at improving communication within ethnically diverse communities.
By: By Dave Olson, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
MOORHEAD, Minn. — The Blandin Foundation will soon conduct a series of workshops in Moorhead aimed at improving communication within ethnically diverse communities.
About 50 people will participate, including representatives from the Moorhead’s City Council and Police Department, as well as Moorhead colleges and nonprofit groups.
Half of the participants will be men and half will be women.
Fifty percent of those taking part will also be ethnic minorities, including Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans and members of refugee communities, said Mark Altenburg, a City Council member who will attend the workshops that begin with a two-day session May 24-25.
Subsequent sessions are scheduled June 9 and 23 and July 14.
The workshops will be at Courtyard by Marriott.
The goal of the program is to build skills and relationships that will help participants gain confidence in working with people who are ethnically diverse, said Valerie Shangreaux, director of leadership programs at the Blandin Foundation.
“It’s about providing communities with the tools to come up with pragmatic ways to make change,” he said.
“How do we talk across differences? How do we communicate with each other when we’re different?” Altenburg said.
Blandin has sponsored similar training sessions in other Minnesota cities, including Austin and Willmar.
Shangreaux said most of the cities the foundation visits are either dealing with, or have dealt with, ethnicity conflicts.
While there isn’t time at the sessions to solve deep problems, she said it’s hoped the workshops will promote greater understanding between diverse groups.
“To deal with those tough issues, you have to have the trusting relationships,” Shangreaux said.
“Sometimes,” she added, “we ask them (workshop participants) to hold on to those issues a while, so they can talk about the tough stuff in a good way.”
Altenburg said he’s optimistic there will be more Blandin workshops in the future.
“If we could do this at least one more time, then we would have more than 100 people who are interested in leadership in Moorhead,” he said.
Based in Grand Rapids, the Blandin Foundation’s mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities.
Dave Olson is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.