River Valley District's John Forshee Awarded Kansas PRIDE Partner Award

John Forshee, Director of the River Valley Extension District was awarded the Kansas PRIDE Partner Award at the recent K-State Research & Extension Annual Conference held in Manhattan for his work in Community Vitality and support of PRIDE Communities in the River Valley District.

The Wakefield PRIDE was once a vibrant organization but over the years had become inactive. A few community members contacted Forshee about how PRIDE worked and through a cooperative effort Wakefield PRIDE is once again a recognized and organized PRIDE Community that is working to make a Wakefield a vibrant community with a positive future.

Community members in Belleville contacted Forshee and the Kansas PRIDE Program about planting trees for the upcoming 150th Anniversary of the town and the 100th Anniversary of the NCK Free Fair. Resources from K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Forest Service were brought to the table and that discussion quickly blossomed into beautification ideas beyond tree planting.

Together with NW Community Vitality Specialist, Nadine Sigle, the First Impressions program was conducted in Belleville and from there the need for a grassroots organization to head up the efforts was identified. Working with local leaders, Forshee assisted in the development of Belleville Community PRIDE, a group of young leaders taking the initiative to make Belleville a better place to live and work as well as celebrating the history and heritage of the community.

In addition to the PRIDE work, First Impressions is a major focus of Forshee's Community Vitality work.
First Impressions has been completed in Belleville and Clay Center and is in progress in Miltonvale. Three other River Valley District communities are in the planning processes for First Impressions. Forshee is also working with the Dane G. Hansen Strategic Doing process in both Republic County and Cloud County.

The River Valley Extension District is a part of K-State Research and Extension and serves Clay, Cloud, Republic, and Washington Counties in North Central Kansas.

The Kansas PRIDE Program is a partnership of K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Masons and Kansas PRIDE, Inc. Kansas PRIDE is dedicated to
serving communities across the state to encourage and assist local government and volunteers in making their community a better place to live and work.