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12 South Dakotans selected to join Change Network learning experience

BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension’s Community Vitality program proudly announces that 12 South Dakotan change-makers from across the state have been selected to join the 2023-2024 South Dakota Change Network. 

This year’s cohort members are Miranda Basye, Sioux Falls; Peter Britton, Sioux Falls; Mandy Froelich, Vale; Stephanie Kor, Spearfish; Bernie McFarling, Box Elder; Eduardo Mendoza, Sioux Falls; Peri Pourier, Rapid City; Cole Sartell, Brookings; Brianna Venekamp, Sioux Falls; Lisa Verdin, Sioux Falls; JJ Wilson, Black Hawk; and Kadyn Wittman, Sioux Falls. 

South Dakota Change Network is a year-long learning and support experience for individuals creating more equitable, accessible and welcoming environments where they live and work.

Participants are accepted from communities and Native American nations across the state based on projects they lead to drive positive change in their organizations and communities. During their time in South Dakota Change Network, these change-makers gain proven leadership techniques from a multi-disciplined team, convene at in-person events, and explore collaborative opportunities that are critical to the long-term success of their projects.

Projects among the 2023-2024 South Dakota Change Network cohort include elevating the voices of South Dakota’s Hispanic community through music, multimedia content and cultural presentations; creating spaces for indigenous youth to develop civil engagement leadership skills; providing servicemembers with safe spaces for difficult conversations and equipping them to carry their learning into their work-centers, and more.

"Across our state, the people of South Dakota are recognizing opportunities to bolster communities by fostering greater resilience, inclusivity and mutual support," said Kari O’Neill, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Manager. "South Dakota Change Network empowers individuals with the necessary tools and structures to achieve their aspirations. Throughout the upcoming year, participants will glean insights from our experienced faculty and each other, drawing from the diverse lived experiences within the cohort."

South Dakota Change Network is led via a partnership of 3E Productions, CommonSense Consulting@Work, National Arts Strategies Inc., SDSU Extension and filmmaker Charles Kennedye. Funding for the program is made possible through the Bush Foundation. Upon graduation, participants will join a network of nearly 100 leaders from South Dakota Change Network and North Dakota Change Network.

Learn more about South Dakota Change Network here. To learn more about the members of the North and South Dakota cohorts, view the cohort brochure here or follow the cohort’s journey on social media with #NDSDchangenetwork.