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NCIC collects programming ideas

WORTHINGTON -- If Sharon Johnson was granted one wish for the residents of Worthington, it would be that everyone would embrace the cultural diversity of others.

With that premise, Johnson -- coordinator of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative (NCIC) -- hosted a session Friday to collect ideas that the collaborative can implement within the county.

The group of participants, ranging in age and ethnic background, represented about one-fourth of the number of people who participated in the collaborative-sponsored Intergenerational Dialogue nearly four months ago.

Johnson asked for input on how cultural integration can be promoted -- and involve people -- throughout the collaborative communities, as well as how those ideas can be accomplished. The information collected will be given to the NCIC board of directors to develop collaborative programming for the coming year.

Among the ideas outlined by the group Friday were to provide additional dialogues that include personal stories told by immigrants living in NCIC communities, offer an event that would showcase diverse music and food in a social setting, and provide public tours of ethnic-based local businesses during Worthington's annual International Festival.

Other suggestions included increasing coverage of immigrant stories as an educational tool within the Daily Globe, offering programs on cultural diversity in some of the other NCIC communities, and sending ethnic student groups to other, less diverse school districts for day-long visits.

Johnson said she was pleased with the ideas presented and is hopeful they can be implemented soon within NCIC communities.

"I have a passion for bringing people in this community together," Johnson said. "I hope that one day, everyone will be proud and celebrate the rich diversity we have here."

It is through life experiences and exploring cultures through books that Johnson said people can further their understanding of others. She added that for the community to be truly integrated, everyone must reflect on his or her attitudes and actions with regard to diversity.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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