Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Vision Councils connect to impact the Marshfield area

Entry by: Stacey Oelrich, Community Relations Development Coordinator

Last weekend, I went to my friend’s wedding in De Pere. We checked into the hotel, and one of the first things I did was pull out my laptop, pop in my WIFI-wireless card and connect to the hotel’s wireless network.

When I lived in Green Bay, we had a wireless network set up in our apartment. I thought it was absolutely brilliant that I could search for recipes as I was getting ready for supper in the kitchen or sitting outside on our patio to work.

I rarely missed an opportunity to unplug my laptop and wander around the apartment to talk, work or just be connected to all of these opportunities on the Internet.

Networks are important. But computers aren’t the only ones using networks to share information. Networking is a way to advance careers, and they also allow the community to connect.

Sometimes in this busy world of ours it’s hard to take the time to connect. These connections make such a significant difference in our daily lives and at United Way, we think it’s important to find the time to share information, foster relationships and work together to make the community a better place to live and work.

Marshfield Area United Way hosts Vision Councils as a part of our Community Impact Process. They are a gathering of people of all professions coming together to make change because they care about making an impact in our service area.

We ask these residents and professionals to assess needs of each of our Impact Areas, which is then taken to the Community Impact Committee that reviews funding applications of programs serving the community’s needs.

Vision Councils meet throughout the year, so we are able to keep a pulse on our service area’s emerging and priority needs. Each Vision Council focuses on a different Impact Area: Community & Basic Needs, Families & Seniors and Youth Initiatives.

It’s easy to become involved in a Vision Council; you just need an interest in the community to come to the meetings. Everyone’s input and ideas collectively help the group achieve goals, find solutions and go forward on projects that may not have been possible before.

During these meetings everyone shares information about what works, events that might be fun or beneficial, and problems they may have encountered. These leaders know they need accomplish real lasting change, not settle for quick fixes.

The Vision Councils’ setting encourages people to share ideas and talk through issues. This allows participants to see the situation from different perspectives and seek opinions.

We have found in all our technological advances, the good old-fashioned meeting still helps people gather information and build connections. Together, we can do so much more than any one of us can do alone.

Working together to change lives and make the Marshfield area a better place for people to live and work … that’s what matters.

To learn more about Vision Councils and when they meet, call Marshfield Area United Way at 384-9992.