Clergy and those who believe churches can help make communities better took part in "Leadership and Faith: Southeast Kansas" this week at Mercy Hospital.
About 16 people were in attendance in the McAuley Room Wednesday morning with 19 participating Tuesday evening for the program, facilitated by the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center.
KLC, aimed at equipping leaders with skills to make lasting, positive change in Kansas communities, was established with a 10-year, $30 million grant from The Kansas Health Foundation in 2007.
"Our whole philosophy is people in communities are all working hard to do things, but often things don't get better. This is a way of saying if we learn new ways of leading in a community, we can make progress," KLC Project Manager Sue Dondlinger said.
"That's really what we're doing here -- studying those new ways of tackling tough problems in a community to make progress. That's what Kansas Leadership Center does. We work all over Kansas with various groups to do this kind of thing," Dondlinger said.
The group will return for a third session from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center, located on the Fort Scott Community College campus, 2108 S. Horton.
The only thing asked of those in attendance was whether they were engaged in their churches and believed those institutions could play a larger role in improving a town. Dondlinger said the group came up with individual community issues they think they can make a difference on. But it was "entirely up to them" whether to pursue individual issues or work together on a larger matter, she said.
Some of the issues participants wanted to work on include working with youth; making life skills available to those in poverty, and helping children via mentoring and tutoring.
"What we've done is scheduled a time in March -- March 14 -- to come back if people want that," Dondlinger said.
She added KLC keeps participants engaged through magazines, clubs and gatherings around the state. "So we keep them thinking about it."