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Event will welcome Perham alumni 'Home for the Holidays'

The 549 Family Foundation, in conjunction with Perham Public Schools and the Live Wide Open initiative, will be hosting an event to welcome former community members back home for the holidays and let them know that, should they ever want to retur...

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The 549 Family Foundation, in conjunction with Perham Public Schools and the Live Wide Open initiative, will be hosting an event to welcome former community members back home for the holidays and let them know that, should they ever want to return for good, Perham's door is always open - and there's a lot of opportunity here waiting for them.

From 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22, current and former residents of Perham, their friends and family, and anyone else who's interested, are all invited to meet in the Perham High School Commons for refreshments, prizes, presentations about the community and tours of the school.

"The hope is to show them all the amazing changes and developments that have happened over the last year, and provide them with information and resources on making a move back home," said Emily Dreyer, who's active with the 549 Family Foundation.

The name of the event is Home for the Holidays, and it's especially targeted to Perham High School alumni who are back in town for Christmas, visiting family. It's meant to help people connect with the community (or reconnect, whatever the situation may be) as well as learn more about the town's recent success stories and overall growth. Representatives from local businesses will be on hand to talk to anyone who's curious about job opportunities in Perham.

Rick Schara, the coordinator for Live Wide Open, said the Perham event will be specific to the Perham community, but will also have a "regional flavor," keeping the whole west central Minnesota area in mind. Fergus Falls, Battle Lake and Barnesville are all planning similar events.

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"We're doing this to help communities stay connected with all those people who call those towns their home," said Schara. "So when families gather for the holidays...they might be looking for things to do, and I think the community has a chance to say, 'Hey, we want to show how we're growing and thriving, and you're a part of this.' Those alumni will always be a part of those communities, whether they still live there or not."

Live Wide Open is a program of West Central Initiative that started in 2016. In partnership with employers, chambers of commerce and local governments across west central Minnesota, Live Wide Open works to promote the region by showcasing what it has to offer - plentiful jobs, good schools, abundant natural amenities, safe and friendly communities, and more. The campaign invites people to return, move to, and stay in west central Minnesota.

Events like Home for the Holidays, said Schara, "give people the idea that these towns are thriving, that they're growing, that there's excitement in our communities - and maybe it shows them that they want to be a part of that."

"I think it works especially well when communities have significant construction projects or improvements that people are curious about," he added. "In Perham, that high school is just an awesome thing to showcase, and there are other things going on in Perham that people might not be aware of. We don't want to just tell them, we want to show them... We want to show what we have, and the passion we have; why we love living in our communities. And sharing that message is a very powerful way of communicating and telling our story."

The Perham event is free and open to everyone. For more information about Live Wide Open, visit livewideopen.com.

Related Topics: EVENTS
A writer, editor and mom of four (two kids, two dogs), Marie's been in the newspaper business for over 20 years. She started at the Detroit Lakes Tribune in 2017 after working just down the road at the Perham Focus for several years. Before that, she was at the Herald-Review in Grand Rapids, Minn.
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