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      New organization aims to bring together young professionals in Ottumwa

      For many residents in Ottumwa, especially those in their 20's and 30's, it's difficult to connect with and meet with other young professionals in the community. But a new group gathering speed in Ottumwa is about to change all that.

      The Young Professional Organization of Ottumwa aims to gather working people ages 21-39 to network with each other and connect with other resources in the community. The goal is to first build a foundation of friendships and peers, and then utilize those connections to help out the community.

      "If we can bring the young professionals together, the town will really blossom," said Megan Framke, Initiative Manager at Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation and the head of this project.

      The young professionals group will be involved in improvement projects, volunteer events and social gatherings. The group held its first Network@Night event about a month ago to kick off interaction and introductions. Eventually, Framke hopes to see the participants become vital, active members of the community.

      "I think this group... we have to make sure we start small and have our small successes, but I imagine this organization having a large impact on this community and really help bring young professionals to the table, as well as bringing them to the community," she said. "It's amazing what a small group can start out as that can make a large impact."

      Framke said Ottumwa is the perfect area for an organization such as the Young Professional Organization, due its population, surrounding towns and the availability of meeting places. Plus, there is a plethora of opportunities for volunteerism and activism.

      The Young Professional Organization of Ottumwa will meet for their second Network@Night event Wednesday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Appanoose Rapids in downtown Ottumwa. Anyone interested in learning more about the group or becoming a participant is welcome to come.

      For more information, you can also visit the Young Professional's Facebook Page , or contact Megan at