WILLMAR - People in the Willmar area will have several opportunities over the next two weeks to participate in finding ways to help children in poverty get a good start in life.

The "Grow Our Own" community conversations will be held Feb. 3, Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 in Willmar.

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Subjects to be discussed include child care, housing, workforce and transportation. Participants will discuss local barriers to closing opportunity gaps and things the community could do together to overcome the barriers. The poverty rate in the Willmar School District is 61 percent.

The effort is sponsored by Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040, the Willmar Area Community Foundation and Southwest Initiative Foundation. Staff members from those organizations will help lead the discussions.

The meeting times and locations are as follows:

• Feb. 3, Lakeland Elementary School: Breakfast and networking begins at 8:30 a.m.; program from 9 to 11:30 a.m.; child care will be available.

• Feb. 6, The Oaks at Eagle Creek: Networking and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m.; program from noon to 1:30 p.m.

• Feb. 7, Minnwest Technology Campus, Commons Conference Room, 1707 Technology Drive N.E., use door #2: Networking and breakfast begins at 7 a.m.; program from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Each gathering is free and open to the public. A light meal will be provided at each meeting. RSVP by Feb. 1 by calling 320-583-4629.