At a parent-teacher conference the credit, or blame, for a student’s performance most times makes its way back to the parents and whether they are providing a nurturing environment for excellence.
Yes, the student gets the credit, but every educator knows that it’s the behind-the-scenes effort that makes the difference.
Such was the case Friday night when individuals and organizations were publicly recognized for their contributions at the annual Thrive Allen County banquet. In almost every instance, Thrive played a background role in helping launch ideas and efforts.
But, like a good parent, Thrive directed the spotlight on its “students,” bringing them up to the stage with awards and standing ovations.
THRIVE began about 10 years ago through the efforts of locals wanting to make Allen County a better place to live with a primary focus on health and wellness.
Significant grants helped launch programs to those ends, including back-to-school health checkups for area students, Navigators to help people secure health insurance, activities to inspire people to become more physically active, and programs to help the unemployed secure the needed resources to keep engaged as productive citizens.
Over the years, Thrive has broadened its vision as to what it takes to be a healthy region, including an area’s economic viability. There’s not a town in Allen County that doesn’t feel threatened by the future. To a one, we continue to lose population.
To that end, Thrive also has a focus of economic development to help stanch the bleeding. It was instrumental in helping build consensus that Allen County build a new hospital. And, most recently, it helped attract G&W Foods to locate in Iola.
The region’s rail trails marry all of Thrive’s goals. Not only do they encourage people to get outside and be physically active, but they also lure tourists to the area, helping drive our economic engine.
Thrive also provides a good example of how working together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.
As Thrive’s executive director, David Toland is no stranger to city and county leaders. To some, he is undoubtedly a thorn in their sides as he urges them to think outside of the proverbial box in efforts to make Allen County stand out against its peers.
It’s because of those efforts that across the county leaders have endorsed new sidewalks, parks, signage, community centers and even housing and retail developments, all pointing to a brighter future.
Take a bow, Thrive Allen County.
— Susan Lynn