“In embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a surer way to true happiness”
Malcolm Gladwell, 2004
When it comes to economic productivity and community prosperity, we know that there is not one approach that is right for everyone. People are different. They enjoy different things. They even define success differently. And in understanding and optimizing the value of key differences lie some of the most brilliant economic optimization models that cannot be achieved if everyone thought, behaved and interacted in the exact same way.
Over the past few months a richly diverse group of leaders from all over Tama County has been coming together to form the Tama County Diversity Alliance. Their vision is to learn and celebrate the differences that make each of us unique, and build on Tama County’s diversity as a community asset. If you have missed some meetings, here is a recap.
DELIVERABLES PLANNED FOR 2012
- Cultural Diversity Festival, Fri & Sat. May 4 & 5, 2012: Celebrate the foods, music, dancing, history that make up the rich tapestry of culture in Tama County. Fri. May 4 is being positioned as the educational day in partnership with our eight school districts. Sat. May 5 would be for the pure fun part inviting not just Tama County residents but all 1.3 million people within a 1 hour driving radius to visit one of the most culturally diverse counties in Iowa.
- TimeBank: Social currency program that allows a person to deposit an hour of time credit in a way that they can add value in exchange for receiving an hour of time credit of another person’s pool of talents or expertise.
- FamilyTable: Small intimate group of 6-8 people from different walks of life come together at one person’s home to share a meal and discuss a specific topic of interest from a variety of points of view. The composition of the groups, hosts and topics continually change with every gathering.
- PenPals: High school student led program that matches diverse people together of a similar age group to learn about each other.
- TEDxTamaCounty: Inspirational 18 minute talks focused on forward thinking leadership.
- Cultural Diversity Education Center: Educational and workforce hub that is being proposed for downtown Tama. Similar to the one that Iowa Valley Community College currently has in downtown Marshalltown. It is not just for Hispanic population and currently residents of Tama County actively use it. It is not very big, but always busy and it operates with on location paid staff support. Specific services include: technology training, English Second Language classes, work skills, etc.
- Summer Lunch Program: June 2012 South Tama & Meskwaki School District (at the very least) will offer free hot nutritious lunch for kids 2-18, and $2 for adults. Can this be an opportunity to connect with families and especially kids reaching some of our population that is unreachable during traditional school channels. Could we use this to provide access to educational opportunities for things like cultural diversity, health and nutrition, community service to nonprofits, entrepreneurship, personal finance, etc.?
NEXT TAMA COUNTY DIVERSITY ALLIANCE MEETING Thu. Dec 15, 3 p.m.
Reinig Toledo Center
1007 Prospect Drive
No cost. Open to the public.
If you are not able to make this next meeting but would like to get involved please shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings are monthly on the third Thursday of the month at 3 p.m. at the Reinig Center.