This shows hope for the future

Three students set out to try to solve a community problem

Three local girls who hope to someday have more stores to visit in the Crossroads Mall recently made an effort to try to make that happen.

In the process, they set an outstanding example of how to be constructive members of the community who try to solve problems.

An article in a Scholastic News publication they read in class at the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District got Samantha Andersen, 11; Marleigh Doan, 12; and Kyla Egli, 11; thinking about the local mall, where several stores have closed in the last few years. The article was about a very big mall in China. The girls thought it would be cool to have a mall like that in Fort Dodge.

However, the three were not content to daydream about an improved mall. And they didn’t sit around and complain about the current mall.

Instead, Andersen, Doan, and Egli set out to do something.

A suggestion from Teacher Associate Marcus Bell prompted the trio to circulate a petition calling for the Fort Dodge city government to work with the mall’s owners — Namdar Realty Group, Mason Asset Management and CH Capital, all of Great Neck, New York — to bring more stores to the site.

The girls collected 54 signatures. They asked the people who signed the petition to list what they would like to see in the mall. Clothing stores and video arcades topped the list.

With the petition drive completed, the girls met with Mayor Matt Bemrich, City Manager David Fierke and Dawn Siebken, the deputy city clerk. The girls, who will start seventh grade in the fall, sat down face-to-face with some of the community’s top officials to discuss the mall issue.

During that session, Bemrich invited them to address the City Council during its meeting last Monday.

That night, the three girls stood in a room full of people and took turns calmly reading a statement to the council. Then Andersen handed the petition to Siebken so it could be officially entered into the records.

Councilwoman Lydia Schuur noted that most adults wouldn’t want to address the council.

”You are brave to come up here and talk,” Schuur told the girls.

The girls did much more than talk, however.

They showed adults and kids alike how to be active and engaged members of the community.

So the next time anyone is sitting around bellyaching about some real or perceived problem, they should follow the example of Samantha Andersen, Marleigh Doan and Kyla Egli and get involved.