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GEP Hosts "See the Possible" Visit from Caswell County Education Collaborative


Grinnell, IA – September 19, 2023 – Representatives of the Grinnell Education Partnership (GEP) were delighted to host the Caswell County Education Collaborative from Danville, VA, on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, for a day of shared learning as part of the "See the Possible" program. This event featured many Grinnell-area organizations who shared their experiences about being associated with the GEP and their collective knowledge in supporting children and families. Grinnell was one of two communities in the State of Iowa showcased in this tour, selected for demonstrating successful coalition-building and sustaining programs that support children and families.


Becky Miles Polka, Senior Consultant/State Lead of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, commended GEP, saying, "The Grinnell Education Partnership has set a high bar for how a community comes together to ensure all children reach their full potential – one of the very best both in Iowa and our national network of over 350 communities in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading."


GEP's mission is to support Grinnell's youth and families by aligning community organizations toward shared goals related to early literacy enrichment activities, equity and inclusion, family engagement, workforce development, and financial empowerment.


The Caswell County Education Collaborative's visit was made possible through the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF), a Virginia-based organization committed to investing in projects that empower Dan River Region communities. The journey began when Susanne Bell, Senior Program Officer, asked, "What is the biggest education challenge in Caswell County?" This question led to a collaborative exploration in May 2022, where Caswell community members identified four focus areas: Sense of Belonging, Academic Readiness, Non-school Hours, and Technology. After visiting model communities like Grinnell, the Danville team will then develop their own local work in support of kids and families.


Ms. Bell stated, “The Danville Regional Foundation fosters communities where all residents are encouraged and equipped to build healthy lives for themselves and their families. Learning from our peers in Grinnell has provided inspiration and expanded our imagination. We’re grateful for the new perspectives and ideas we’ve gained, and we’re eager to return home and engage with our community to develop and customize what we learned to create positive change.”



The day-long program was hosted at the Grinnell Mutual Conference Center and the Foundation Offices at Ahrens Park. It included a guided tour of Grinnell along with customized sessions and discussions designed to address the specific interests of the visiting Collaborative including summer programming, digital access, early childhood learning, and sustaining a successful coalition.


“Our collaborative believes that educational attainment is key to accomplishing the tasks of today and conquering the challenges of tomorrow. Engaged communities play a role in learning by expanding opportunities, assisting parents, and supporting educators. Learning from and with the Grinnell Education Partnership has broadened our understanding and affirmed our efforts of what’s possible,” said Melanie Gibson, a member of the Caswell County Education Collaborative.



For more information about the "See the Possible" visit, please contact:


Melissa Strovers

Director of Collective Impact Community Partnerships, Planning and Research Grinnell College 641-269-3900 strovers@grinnell.edu



About the Grinnell Education Partnership (GEP):

GEP is a collaborative effort among more than 20 community partners dedicated to supporting and enhancing local educational programs in Grinnell, Iowa. GEP's mission is to interrupt intergenerational poverty by aligning community organizations and infusing support for early literacy enrichment activities, equity and inclusion, family engagement, workforce development, and financial empowerment activities.


About the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF):

DRF is committed to investing in projects that empower Dan River Region communities to thrive, with a vision of ensuring all residents can build healthy and productive lives.

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