Jane Ann Cotton,
Chairperson of OPEN
We strive to strengthen the global outreach of Newton and Jasper County in ways that increase peace and understanding; promote democracy and citizen participation; and recognize mutual benefits of education, culture, agriculture and trade.
The Organization Promoting Everlasting Neighbors (OPEN) was formed in August, 1990, to implement the community-wide programs contemplated and supported by a Newton City Council resolution passed earlier that year. In August 1991, additional resolutions were passed by the City Council to establish Sister City relationships with the communities of Smila, Ukraine and Wu Chi, Taiwan.
I believe that OPEN has successfully fulfilled the goals set forth in 1990. As we look at the words of our mission, related to global outreach of Newton and Jasper County, I would cite the large number of on-going friendships that have developed due to the numerous hosting opportunities that area residents have supported. Over 325 guests from 10 foreign countries have been hosted by 376 families. We are proud of our long-standing student program; 35 high school students from the city of Smila, Ukraine have stayed for one or two semesters with generous families in Newton. We have hosted several official delegations from Smila and delegations from Newton have traveled to Ukraine. We have enjoyed community support for special projects that have benefited certain segments of Smila's population.
OPEN is proud of the activities and projects over the years that have been successful due to the participation of Newton and Jasper County residents. Our 19 Board members will continue to strive to honor the words of our Mission Statement and fulfill the vision of the Resolutions passed by the Newton City Council in 1990 and 1991.