Vision 2040 is creating a better tomorrow through supporting projects that are community minded with special emphasis on the four focus areas: health and wellness, diversity, inclusion and communication. These four focus areas are kept in mind when our board decides to endorse or help fund a project. Learn about the projects that came into fruition in 2022 below.

2022 Projects Summary

Bridge Builders is a bi-monthly networking event for non-profit agencies in West Central Minnesota to share information and resources with other local non-profit organizations.

Project Success

A successful Bridge Builders program would include representation from a majority of our area's non-profit agencies and would increase the development of new and existing relationships among those employed at these agencies. Representation includes attendance at networking events and/or input into informative email communications for those who cannot attend. It is Bridge Builders of West Central Minnesota’s hope that building connections among local nonprofit agencies will result in increased awareness of community resources, less duplication of services, and more efficiency in receiving/sharing of resources and up to date information.

Vision 2040 Connection

This request aligns with the mission and goals of Vision 2040 by helping create a more informed and better served community. Resource information obtained from this program will be shared with the public and used to update the United Way's 211 helpline listing for this area. This program also provides a great opportunity for communication about the ever changing needs in our community.

Organizers plan to:

  • Develop a workshop to ensure civil rights for our members, family and staff.
  • Teach individuals how to execute their rights to vote.
  • Help members to get registered to vote and understand when the election happens.
  • Explain the overall process to vote, where to vote and assistants for voting.
  • Bring in guest speakers from city, county and state levels to discuss issues that affect them.
  • Tour government buildings local and state to see where they are located.
  • Help members understand the different levels of making changes with the government.

Project Success

To reach our members, family or staff that they are part of the community, society and they have a voice. With this workshop we can help encourage them to speak with members of government when issues arise and what process needs to take place.

Vision 2040 Connection

This workshop covers all areas of Vision 2040 goals. Having a workshop that has government officials, voting officials and other resources. It’s best for people's health and wellness to continue to learn or refresh knowledge to feel involved in the community.

This project includes three, 90-minute conversations that take an asset-based approach to how we see ourselves, our community, and our responsibility to the world. The goal of the conversations is to facilitate a welcoming environment where participants can:

  1. Challenge personal assumptions through critical thinking exercises
  2. Express thoughts and ideas to increase clarity, purpose, and cultural awareness
  3. Understand the impact of individual and collective action
  4. Articulate how the world is interconnected and how they are a part of it

Project Success

These conversations will be successful when a handful of participants engage with themselves and each other in a caring and curious way. Project organizers hope everyone that participates can begin to know themselves a bit better so that they can carry their self-awareness into the larger context of their lives and begin to understand our community neighbors more deeply as well. As co-facilitators we include ourselves in this vision of success!

Vision 2040 Connection

This request aligns well with all four goal areas of Vision 2040. These conversations hope to invoke within each person the compassion and curiosity that makes us human. By reflecting on what matters to us as individuals and what we share in common with each other, project organizers will be creating a space for mental flourishing and engagement. By asking introspective questions of our cultural selves, we will validate other ways of being which leads to greater connections, respect, and inclusivity of others. By participating in thoughtful engagement methods project organizers will be offering a space for authentic communication.

In the US, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children 1-4 years old and the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 19 and under. Drownings are 100% preventable if everyone follows simple water safety steps.

A multifaceted approach to water safety and drowning prevention activities has been planned in our community. The curriculum we have selected to use encourages safer behaviors around all types of water and includes materials for eight lessons, games, songs, a science experiment, and videos in English and Spanish. This curriculum is easily adaptable to a classroom setting as well as special events and activities. Our Big Kandi Water Safety Event on June 18th will include stations on when to call for help, practicing reaching and throwing assists, properly fitting a lifejacket, boating safety, and best practices for adult supervision. This event will include youth life jacket giveaways and donation of water safety equipment to the two county parks on Big Kandiyohi Lake. Classroom and beach sessions are scheduled this summer with Adult Education to help English language learners become more familiar with safety around the water in our area for themselves and family members. Plans are also in progress for partnering with daycare and early childhood programs in our community.

Vision 2040 Connection

Successful results from our water safety project include practicing safe behavior near, on, and in the water and knowing how to help someone in distress without endangering yourself.

Vision 2040 Connection

This is a collaborative, community event engaging participants of all ages to develop healthy habits near, on, and in the water.

Willmar Main Street is hosting "Dine Out Downtown" events this summer on July 15th and August 19th, respectively. These are block party-style events featuring outdoor dining and music on 4th Street SW between Litchfield Avenue and Becker Avenue. Willmar Main Street will provide outdoor seating and tables, as well as live music. Musicians will perform on the Showmobile -- the City's outdoor entertainment stage. The events will tentatively run from 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM.

The events will not be associated with a particular restaurant -- attendees are free to get food from any downtown establishment

Project Success

These events will advance Willmar Main Street's mission to "cultivate connections, create unique experiences and build community." We hope that this will serve as a chance for Willmar residents to gather as a community -- an outcome whose benefit cannot be overstated. Further, this event will showcase downtown Willmar's many businesses and restaurants. Such engagement is critical to our downtown economy, especially as it recovers from the COVID-19 recession.

Vision 204 Connection

This project is well aligned with Vision 2040's commitment to inclusion and engagement. Downtown Willmar and the adjacent Highway 12 corridor are the epicenter of Willmar's Somali and Hispanic entrepreneurial community. Not only will these events generally showcase downtown Willmar's restaurants, it will encourage attendees to dine at establishments that they otherwise might not visit. The evenings will serve as a night for Willmar residents of all backgrounds to connect and build community.

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office is looking for funding to purchase and outfit a K9 to be added to the ranks. The Sheriff's Officer currently has one K9 and we want to add a second to better serve the community.

Project Success

Success is having enough K9's to provide as close to 24/7 coverage as we can. Success is removing controlled substances from our community with the aid of K9 partners.

Vision 2040 Connection

Having a second K9 will aid in removing controlled substances from the community, helping locate wanted suspects on the run, helping to locate lost people, and keeping our men and women in uniform safe.

The Little Art Gallery is an inclusive art project hosted by the Willmar Community Center. The project organizers hope that creatives, of all ages and backgrounds, in the Willmar Community (maybe in all of Kandiyohi County) will participate in this program and show off their creative skills.

The Little Art Gallery will promote all mediums of art that fit our Community Safe Guidelines and show off these art works in the Little Art Gallery boxes posted in different places in Willmar. The hope is that people will make their own art and want to go out and see their creations throughout town. This would promote people to visit more places in Willmar!

There will have a theme each month (posted 1 month in advance) for people to create around. The community is welcome to paint, draw, use clay or string, paper mache any medium they see fit to create something around that month’s theme (the project will need to meet certain specs to fit in the box). Community Center Employees will collect the projects and distribute them to designated boxes around town twice a month. The goal is to have 10 boxes placed around Willmar in public city buildings and city parks.

The Willmar Community Center will host an art class each month at a discounted price for those who wish to participate in the Little Art Gallery Project.

Project Success

  • Success: Success with this project will be an increase in art and movement throughout the City of Willmar. The goal is to make art and the process of making art more accessible and affordable for everyone. The project will be a success if people contribute their “little art” and go out to see their art and others placed in the little gallery boxes.
  • Activity Result: The desire is for people to feel free to create art and to be proud of their work. The hope is that they will want to show off their work and visit different places in town to find where their piece has ended up.

Vision 2040 Connection

The Little Free Art Gallery is already an established movement in many different cities in the States. It’s an opportunity for everyone who wants to create to feel included and welcome into an art community. The Little Free Art Gallery will create connections, a sense of community inclusion, and engagement towards creating different art pieces.

Vision 2040

Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040 is a grassroots movement in Kandiyohi County to make our communities better than they were yesterday. Our mission is to support the dreamers and the doers in Kandiyohi County. We strive to create a better tomorrow through supporting projects that are community minded with special emphasis on the four focus areas; Health & Wellness, Communication, Inclusion and Engagement.

Vision 2040 is a collaborative, community-led and driven initiative composed of your neighbors, friends and coworkers.

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