“Our project has two components; the first being a leadership program taking place in the spring. The second is a face-in-the-hole mural project,” volunteer with the The BRIDGE Organization, Erin Ludwig, says. “The leadership program is a partnership between Elma and Riceville while the murals are fun activity for families.”
The BRIDGE Organization (Building Relationships in the Development of Greater Elma area) is a non-profit community corporation founded in 2005. The organization has five committees (Executive, Economic Development, Marketing/Promotions, Serving Our Community and Community Development) work alongside each other to assist the Elma area in obtaining grant funding.
Iowa Select Farms is proud to be an outside source in assisting with these projects with a $2,000 Community Care Grant. “Everything takes money, and with it we are able to make these things happen,” Ludwig says. “We are very appreciative for the grant, which helped start fundraising for both projects.”
The leadership program’s goal is to get more people involved and grow new leaders. BRIDGE is working with Northeast Iowa Community College to offer training on relevant topics for those who participate in the program. Topics include effective communication practices, understanding today’s multiple generations, addressing conflict and difficult behavior, leading change and managing transitions and creating positivity instead of drama.
“The program is an opportunity for people to network and grow leadership skills that will ultimately benefit our community,” Ludwig says. She hopes non-profit organizations in and around town will recommend folks to participate. Each participant will complete a personality test, a recent addition to the program.
The mural that will soon sit near the town depot museum is a colorful train. Holes are cut out where the train windows would be so that smiling faces can be seen. The second mural will live in the city park and will feature a baseball scene. The third mural will live by the bike trail and feature people on a bike pulling a cart.
“We hope people have fun with these,” Ludwig says. “Our goal is also to promote our attractions. We have a beautiful park which families have and will continue to make memories in, our museums showcase a variety of artifacts unique to the Elma area including memorabilia from area schools and our railroad history, and the bike trail which is the start or end of a paved bike trail that now goes almost to the Minnesota border.”