Stevens County Needs: Services for Local Migrant Workers

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This week on Wednesday, January 26th of 2005, I attended a "Blandin-related" Facilitation: Part 2 Workship at the newly build "Agri" Building. It was more than just learning facilitation skills, but also a very-related topic exercise that I gave my word to follow-through. Ben had us do an exercise concerning, "What are the needs of the Migrant Workers", using the Asset Based Ccommunity Diagram:

We split in two groups and was assigned different roles: note taker, analyzer, etc.. After our own individual group exercise, we met as a whole group and shared what we talked about. One group talked about what ways we can communicate this to the "migrant workers": media-have flyers in poster boards around the community, channel 6 television, and contact stakeholders (see down below). The second group asked, what are the assets of these migrant workers in the community? (see down below). Through this entire exercise, I began to realize that I would like to put this into "action". I added another category called "Current Implementation" to the list to summarize what is currently being done in the community, so we don't have to "start over" a service that is being provided. Also, I listed links of other translation-resources I found related to these services outside of Morris. This is what I came up with:


Using the Blandin Model-"8 Common Dimensions of a Healthy Community":

*this has been updated since this time and will continue to do much more through the newly formed Community Dialogue Series Group (more information in website down below)

1. Life Long Learning

Stakeholder: Morris Community Ed's ESL & GED Classes, M.A.H.S.'& UMM' Spanish Club
Current Implementation: Morris Literacy Project(Sal)'s every Wednesdays @7p-9pm ESL/GED Class (Steve) at the Morris Elementary School [only when school is in session]. Will try to meet during the summer-possibly evey other Wednesdays (when Sal isn't scheduled to work) at Morris Public Library!
Program helps immigrants become teachers by William Wilcoxen, Minnesota Public Radio February 27, 2006

2. Valuing Diversity

Stakeholder: Human Rights Commission, UMM's & M.A.H.S.' Spanish Club
Current Implementation: Morris Literacy Project(Sal)'s every Wednesdays @7p-9pm ESL/GED Class (Steve) at the Morris Elementary School [only when school is in session]. Will try to meet during the summer-possibly evey other Wednesdays (when Sal isn't scheduled to work) at Morris Public Library!
Maybe start a Community Ed based program to teach Spanish to the local community, which has been already requested in the area for adults and children (e.g.homeschool)

3. Spiritual, Cultural, & Recreational Opportunities


Stakeholder: Morris Area Churches
Current Implementation: Assumption Catholic Churches' (Father Allen) every "first" Saturday of the month mass in Spanish at 6:30pm


Stakeholders: UMM's United Latinos club, Service Learning Project, Prairie Renassaince Cultural Alliance, etc..
Current Implementation: UL's Annual Hispanic Awareness Month events (Poetry Reading, etc..) at UMM Campus
. Garret, a former UMM Student, told me he would've liked to help start a Mexican/Latino Restaurant in our area as part of his "homework" project with Stacy Aronson, an associate professor for UMM's Spanish program

UMM Students poses with some of the migrant workers that attended the first annual "Cinco" de (6th of) "Mayo" 2005 Community Supper at Assumption Catholic Church. This was sponsored/started by Professor Aronson's Service Learning Project.
Related Sites:
Bienvenidos Blackduck, an article from Minneapolis Star Tribune
*referred by Pat Franey to Blandin group: Blackduck, MN


Stakeholder: UMM's Soccer Club, Regional Fitness Center, Morris Community Ed: Sports Activities

Jose and friends after playing baseball at one of the UMM Softball Fields after I umped a H.S. Girls Softball Game on June 7th

Current Implementation: NONE at this time
Maybe invite "soccer (popular sport in Mexico) fans" to join UMM's Intramural Soccer get-togethers at the Phy Ed (winter) Gym or UMM Soccer Field (summer). Since the beginning of this year, one of the ESL students from Bulgaria has been playing soccer with the UMM Men's Soccer Team.

4. Safety and Security

"The community provides appropriate safety and security measures for all and actively addresses the causes and consequences of violence"
Stakeholder: Morris and UMM Campus Police, Human Rights Commission
Current Implementation: City of Morris Police Deparment has a police officer taking a Spanish Language class. possibly having English/Spanish translators on the force or be contacted when a safety/security issue comes. Also making sure the HRC hold respective authorities accountable of any cultural/racial issues. The City of St. Paul Police Department (West-Side) has a special 30-minute informative video (watched this one of the cable channels when I was home in St. Paul one day)

5. Community Leadership

Stakeholder: Leadership Morris
Current Implementation: NONE at this time: possibly "reaching-out" to the Hispanic-American community to be part of community leadership opportunities/events to serve as a liason/representative for the Hispanic/Latino/Chicano population

6. Environmental Stewardship

"The community has adequate infrastructure, and all people have access to essential services"
Current Implementation: NONE at this time

7. Infrastructure and Services

"The community has adequate infrastructure, and all people have access to essential services"


Stakeholder: Morris Transit
Current Implementation: NONE at this time: possibly having the Morris Transit provide rides to-and-from the Dairy Farms (Riverside/West Dairy). I've heard from the past that they can't attend the ESL Classes because they have no ride or their cars broke down.
Asset: Getting them easily to Morris will get them to get groceries at Willies/Coburns, which might increase sales?
Minnesota Drivers Manual in espanol
Auto Mechanics:
Advance Auto Parts in espanol
Tiscali-Spanish Phrase Finder: Car Parts

-Communication Services

Stakeholders: Info Link, Hometown Solutions
Current Implementation: Had a migrant worker (Jose), who asked me how he can get phone service. We went together to Hometown Solutions, which I had to get a friend (Saundra) to help translate for me on exactly what Jose was looking for. I took a week or so, but it got done! Also, there was another co-worker of his asking for computer repair, which it was difficult to understand what he was trying to get fix. It took awhile to understand what needed to be fixed-modem, which a friend of mine did it for free! I had another "customer" from the farm that called Morris Community Ed, which I referred him to contact Tucker of Mobiz Computers.
Maybe have some phone/internet service providers have brochures or a 1-800 hotline number for translation.


Stakeholders: Stevens County Medical Center, Prairie Medical Associates (Dr. Alfredo), Stevens Traverse Public Health, and area dentists
Current Implementation: Just talked (5/20/05-Arts&Crafts Fair at M.A.H.S) to Mrs. Roberts, a Spanish teacher at Morris Area High School. She told me she gets calls from the Stevens County Medical Center to be a translator to Spanish-speaking migrant workers that come in-muy bueno! Also, Professor Stacy Aronson shared about her class creating borchures in Spanish for the local hospital, dentists, etc...
Have health resources translated in Spanish, like..
I contacted Dr. Alfredo (see article Serving the community, giving to the community Morris Sun Tribune Published Tuesday, June 23, 2009 By Tom Larson)yesterday (7/28/09) by phone and then in person today during the ESL classes I teach at the Morris Community Ed. He shared about his willingness to "reach out" the community and wanted to schedule a community-wide meeting to share this desire.
Abbot Northwestern from
MN Dept of Human Services
Mayo Clinic Website (Spanish)
Spanish Resources from Dr. Colbert


Stakeholders: HRA
Current Implementation:
U.S. Department of Housing (Spanish)
Get Down Payments in espanol for first time homebuyers

Legal Services

Current Implementation:
None at this time or unknown if available

-Others: Stevens County-Social Services

Stakeholders: Stevens County Food Shelf
-According to a regular volunteer, they do have some "mexican" (e.g. burrito/taco shells) food that comes off and on-depends on the donations.

Stakeholders: Stevens County Humane Society
Current Implementation:
One of the workers called to see where he can "give away" their dog they found and kept. Just recently, Stacy told me she was contacted about how a worker can buy adopt a pet.

Stakeholders: Immigration-Social Security Administration in Alexandria
Resources: U.S. Citizenship Forms, from Visa Pro

8. Economic Opportunity

Stakeholders: Morris Chamber of Commerce (Carolyn or Carlen)
Current Implementation: Morris Chamber of Commerce has already met on this issue
Assets: Asking "migrant workers" what they "need" (food, products, etc...) and letting Morris area businesses know will help increase their shopping here; instead of them going all the way to Wilmar.
Maybe have some "Welcome" meeting to a Chamber of Commerce mtg and make a list with the help of a English/Spanish translator?
"The Latino market in Minnesota tripled in size from 1990 to 2000. With an estimated population of 250,000 and buying power of more than $3.1 billion, Spanish-speakers represent a great opportunity to expand your business."-from Latino Communications Network


  • City loan to aid store geared to area’s Hispanics Morris Sun Tribune Published Saturday, January 13, 2007

  • " A modest loan from the city could mean a better quality of life for Hispanics and other minorities living in the Morris area. The Morris City Council on Tuesday approved a $12,500 loan from its Revolving Loan Fund to help develop a proposed store catering to the needs primarily of the Hispanic community. Council members approved the loan in their role as the city’s Economic Development Authority. Nancy Huot, of Morris, is proposing to open the store, La Tienta, on March 1. Currently, she’s working to obtain space in what was a video store adjacent to Bremer Bank on Atlantic Avenue in Morris. Huot told the council the store would offer retail items such as non-perishable food, clothing and other items specific to the Hispanic culture that can’t be found in Morris. La Tienta could eventually offer other services, such as help with mailing, emailing, wire transfers, check cashing and other assistance geared to people who are new or unfamiliar with the area, Huot said. The product line and services could be expanded to serve other minority communities if the need arises, she said. “It will be an outreach store, not just a retail store,” Huot said. Currently, many in the minority community have to travel to larger cities, such as Willmar or St. Cloud, to find products with which they are familiar, Huot said. Such a store in Morris will not only help bridge a cultural divide, it will help keep consumer dollars at home. “We could bring that shopping that that community does back into Morris,” Huot said. In conversations with community organizations, Huot estimates the Hispanic population in Morris and surrounding areas at between 250 and more than 500, depending on the time of year. The store’s predicted first-year cash flow is based on having 80 customers per week spending an average of $25. Huot, who has a degree in agriculture finance, estimates $15,000 in start-up expenses. The proposed city loan pay-off is over five years with payments beginning four months after the funding date.

    Lastly, one topic that wasn't discussed at this was this community issue: -"What good is it having the "migrant workers" here?"

    -Some myths and f.a.q are that I've heard so far:
    Myth: "They" are taking all our jobs?
    Fact: The jobs "they" usually take are ones that no one wants

    Myth: "They" are taking trying to befriend young girls (underage) in the community and cause trouble?
    Fact: Some of them are already married

    ....more related issues/topics

    Morris Community Archive of Migrant Workers

    Dinner intended to make immigrants feel at home
    By Brian Williams, Sun Tribune 05/11/2005

    It was a festive Cena De La Communidad. That’s Spanish for “dinner for the community,” explained Bobby Goodfellow, chief organizer of the Friday night event that filled the fellowship hall of Assumption Church.
    The event was conceived by a group of students in the service learning portion of Stacey Parker Aronson’s Spanish class at UMM. They planned a dinner with authentic Mexican cuisine as a means of helping immigrant farm workers in the Morris area feel more at home here.
    The food was ample and received good reviews in this Cena De La Communidad, enjoyed by many from both the UMM community and general community. It sent a message that the new immigrant residents ought to feel fully at home in West Central Minnesota, lest there be any doubt.
    Goodfellow estimates there are between 100 and 200 immigrant farm workers who were the main honored guests for the Friday gathering.
    The public supper was “intended to help them feel more comfortable in the city and general community,” Goodfellow said. “They come to town to buy things, go back home, and might not feel as part of the community as we’d like them to be. With this dinner they can come, enjoy the meal and make connections with each other along with students and other community members.”

    The immigrants are primarily from Mexico and employed mainly by Riverview Dairy Farm and West River Dairy Farm, both in Stevens County. The dinner was free. Its sponsors included the International Programs Committee at UMM, the United Latinos (a UMM student organization), the Morris Human Rights Commission, Assumption Church, UMM Food Services personnel, and an anonymous donor.
    The Morris Human Rights Commission was represented at the supper, continuing its work helping ensure that the immigrants are fully knowledgeable about wage laws and other rights.
    “This supper helps make them truly feel like members of the Morris community,” Goodfellow said.
    Being new has its challenges for everyone, but in the case of people looking at cultural barriers, that challenge could be seen as more daunting, in Goodfellow’s view.
    He explained that “I’ve seen where these farm workers might not feel as welcome as they might. It think it’s the responsibility of people in the town and on campus to help them all know that they are members of the community here at Morris, and what’s more, all of us want them to be here!”

    Will the Cena De La Communidad become annual? Goodfellow said “we hope to pass it on to the United Latinos, so hopefully a student group will handle this annually.”

    Goodfellow, 20, is a UMM sophomore from Mound Westonka High School, Class of 2003. He’s pursuing a double major in Spanish and geology at UMM. Why did he choose UMM? This goes back to a summer scholars class that he attended here between his junior and senior years in high school, he said. The scholars class was called “Biotechnology: Tinkering With Nature,” and it was taught by Van Gooch and Tom Turner. Students from a five-state area attended. “I was hooked on Morris,” he said said. He’s looking ahead to graduate school, specifically several programs intended to bring college graduates to foreign countries to help teach English. He gave as an example the Japanese English Teaching Program. His hard work helping make the Cena De La Communidad successful will suit a resume in this career nicely.

    Community Dialogue Series: "Welcoming Newcomers"

    On Thursday, April 6th of 2006-the Community Dialogue Series Committtee met with a group of "key stakeholders" from the Morris community on what the community can do to better serve "newcomers" (e.g. UMM staff, faculty, students of different ethnic backgrounds)-particularly the local migrant workers coming to work at the surrounding (Alberta, Hancock, Wheaton, etc..) dairy farms and farms overall:


    They made a list of other "key stakeholders" in the community that should be present. Also, they talked about what has or is currently (e.g. brochures/information material being translated from English to Spanish for dfferent community businesses/group-Dental Depot,Stevens County Medical Center; Prof Stacey Aronson's classes at UMM) being done to serve "newcomers". Then they listed some "action points" on what they should do next (Thursday, April 27th @7:30-8:30a at the Morris Senior Center will be the continuing meeting).

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