Improvement Association to Hold Community Forum “Speed Dating” Style Events

Each year The Improvement Association conducts a series of community forum events. These forums are designed to seek community input for our Community Needs Assessment and bring valuable community resources to our residents. In fact, every initiative offered by the agency is guided by the Community Needs Assessment and it is a critical piece to provide much needed programs.

The agency has partnered with area organizations to offer a Kids Corner where children can participate in various activities while parents participate in the forum. Additionally, the local sheriff’s departments will offer child identification kits for parents wanting to ensure the safety of their children.

This year The Improvement Association will be conducting its community forum event in a speed dating style. Barbie Roundtree, Program Technician stated: “The ‘Speed Dating’ concept was adopted from a training I attended at the National Community Action Partnership Conference last summer. It was much more enjoyable than sitting in a session listening to one person speak. It is also an effective way to gather input from all in attendance.”

“We’ve also invited several community partners to set up informational tables at the event,” said Steffan. “We realized there are several residents who aren’t aware of the available resources within the community. They may also have difficulty getting to the offices to apply for assistance. By having these community resources on hand, we’re enabling the residents to learn about various assistance programs and apply on the spot.” Some of the resources available include local Departments of Social Services, local Health Departments, areas banks, Southside Programs for Adult Continuing Education and Southside Virginia Community College, District 19, and more. “We’re really trying to focus on helping our residents become self-sufficient, and sometimes you need a bit of help for that.”

The agency will be offering door prizes and raffle prizes for those in attendance. “We’ve been seeking donations from local businesses to help entice residents to attend. We’ve had great support and will have a variety of items to be given away during the event,” said Steffan. Some donations include gift certificates to local restaurants, bakeries, hair salons, nail salons, auto repair shops, museums, and more.

All local residents and employees are welcome to attend their corresponding area events. Please RSVP no later than Feb. 16 by calling 434-634-2490 ext. 243 or by emailing lsteffan@impassoc.org. Please be sure to specify what area you will be attending. All events will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the following locations:

March 1: Greensville/Emporia - 1750 E. Atlantic St. Emporia, VA 23847

March 8: Sussex - 120 Coppahaunk Ave. Waverly, VA 23890

March 15: Brunswick - Elm Acres, 100 Raney St. Lawrenceville, VA 23868

March 22: Dinwiddie - Ragsdale Community Center, 20916 Old School Rd. McKenney, VA 23872

March 29: Surry - Department of Youth & Family Resources, 11 Lebanon Rd. Spring Grove, VA 23881

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