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Building Cd’A into an Opportunity Community

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | August 24, 2020 1:07 AM

Poverty Immersion Institute virtual training sessions are Sept. 15, 16

Keith Orchard has seen the reality of an Opportunity Community with his own eyes.

Last year, he was in American Falls in southeastern Idaho and participated in a training for teachers and Opportunity Community navigators.

"I learned what a navigator does and I heard their stories," Orchard said. "It was really a full-on community partnership and commitment that was beautiful to see."

The Opportunity Community model is a national movement designed to create the types of communities where everyone thrives. It can be achieved by increasing prosperity for people living in poverty.

The program was developed by Donna Beegle, founder of Communication Across Barriers, Inc., which is dedicated to broadening and improving opportunities for all people who live in poverty.

Orchard, a mental health specialist for the Coeur d'Alene School District, is familiar with Beegle's works.

"I am thrilled that Coeur d'Alene is taking on this challenge to think about how we support families in need, how we look at our programs and how we can collaborate better to be better,” he said.

Representatives and professionals from the Coeur d'Alene School District, North Idaho College and several area ministries and agencies will be tuning in to Beegle's Poverty Immersion Institute Sept. 15 and 16.

Beegle will broadcast from her hometown of Portland as she provides an understanding of poverty with tools that can be used to assist people in moving — and staying — out of poverty.

This workshop is being presented in collaboration with Charity Reimagined, a local nonprofit.

"I am just so encouraged with the community response to Donna’s training and the excitement about becoming an Opportunity Community in 2021,” Charity Reimagined founder Maggie Lyons said.

About 60 people have registered for the workshop.

Beegle's training institutes help communities transform as they learn how to maximize charitable efforts while working toward lifting people out of poverty.

"This can only happen if the voices of those struggling with poverty can be heard and their perspectives understood," Beegle said.

The Coeur d'Alene Poverty Immersion Institute is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 15 and concludes at 3 p.m. Sept. 16.

Registration is $265 per person.

Info: www.combarriers.com