Jeremiah Program Rochester-Southeast Minnesota Groundbreaking Ceremony
After five years of collaboration and fundraising, the community rallied to celebrate a future campus dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for single moms and their children.
A burgeoning crowd enjoyed a sunny morning at the building site for Jeremiah’s seventh campus. The first campus began in Minneapolis in 1998 and expanded to five states with Rochester being its newest location.
During the program, speakers highlighted the importance of the project and the many hands involved in bringing it to fruition.
A spark of an idea
Paul Fleissner, Olmsted County Housing and Human Services deputy administrator, discovered Jeremiah Program when he heard President & CEO Gloria Perez speak at a conference in Washington D.C.
“There were very few sessions that I said ‘We need this in our community.’ Who would have thought I’d have to go to D.C. to find out about a program that was started only an hour away (in Minneapolis)? I was obsessed with this project for five years,” said Fleissner.
The Jeremiah Program groundbreaking is a highpoint for Fleissner that couldn’t have happened without many players. He pointed to community support needed and noted that Jeremiah Program doesn’t go to every community who asks. Before any commitment, a community must show strong collaborations and willingness to do the hard work not only to start the program but to support it for the long haul.
“Launching people out of our poverty system is not easy,” said Fleissner. “This program has trackable results. Kids and moms will reach their potential. Multi-generational programs work – they get results.”
It takes a village
Minnesota Housing Commissioner, Jennifer Ho understands the hard work behind a groundbreaking.
“Every supportive housing community is an act of faith because of the complexity of the deal,” she said. “Generosity of the community shows what happens when we come together for something good.”
One community group investing heavily into Jeremiah Program’s newest campus is Families First of Minnesota. Executive Director Jon Losness joked about how they got involved.
“If you know JoMarie (Jeremiah Program Rochester-Southeast MN executive director) then you know, what JoMarie wants JoMarie gets,” said Losness.
It took only one meeting for Families First to decide to get involved with the early childhood education portion of Jeremiah Program. Losness said it fit perfectly with what they are already doing with children and Headstart programming.
For JoMarie Morris’ part in the ceremony, she couldn’t say enough about the broad range of partnerships that made the groundbreaking possible. She pointed around the audience and reminded them of all they have done and will do to help two generations succeed and find prosperity and hope for the future.
Hear more from several media outlets who covered the groundbreaking ceremony.
Betsy Singer with KAAL TV did several interviews: