Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
July 2016 issue



Clients Say Thank You at Combined Community Services "Give Back" Event

CAPTech Consulting Presents at 2016 CAPLAW Annual Training Conference


NWICA Offers Mobile Farmers' Market to Senior Community

Area IV Agency's BEED Program Helps Small Business Succeed


Community Action Case Managers Earn Certification

Submission information


Clients Say Thank You at Combined
Community Services "Give Back" Event

On Saturday, May 21, associates of the Self-Sufficiency Department of Combined Community Services hosted their annual “Give Back” event at their location in Kosciusko County. This event is an opportunity for clients to say thank you for the services they have received from the agency’s Family Development Program, called Project Independence.

During the event, adults spent a few hours sorting donations for the clothing pantry, washing windows and vacuuming, while the kids painted rocks to decorate the landscaping. The weather was perfect, and it was an amazing opportunity for staff members and clients to work together to improve their community!

Project Independence is a mentoring program that helps low-income families in Kosciusko County to achieve economic independence through education and eliminate all need for financial assistance from private or governmental resources. REAL Services uses Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds to assist Combined Community Services, and other agencies, in providing these Family Development Programs.

For information on Project Independence, please call Tammy Smith at (574) 269-6019 (ext. 225) or email

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CAPTech Consulting Presents at 2016
CAPLAW Annual Training Conference

Two representatives from CAPTech Consulting, the consulting arm of Pace Community Action Agency, presented at the 2016 CAPLAW Annual Training Conference on Thursday, June 23, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The presentation, led by Dr. Bertha Proctor, CEO of Pace (pictured on left), and Tai Blythe, associate director of Pace, shared tips for planning a successful on-site strategic planning session.

With more than 600 attendees, the conference included 2.5 days of training in financial, governance, human resources, sustainability and federal grant program matters.


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NWICA Offers Mobile Farmers' Market to
Senior Community

Each year, Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA) participates in the national Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), providing $20 in checks for seniors, age 60 years and older, to purchase fresh produce from local Farmers’ Market locations. On Thursday, June 23, NWICA staff members kicked off the 2016 program season by taking the program a step further. In addition to distributing checks, they hosted a mobile fruit and vegetable stand for those seniors who may have had difficulty reaching other markets in order to utilize their checks.

The event was held in the back parking lot of the NWICA central office, located in Crown Point, Ind. Scheeringa’s Mobile Farm Stand was on site to accept checks, and the Purdue University Extension Nutrition Program was thrilled to attend and provide additional resources to attendees. NWICA’s 2-1-1 Information and Assistance Department and Weatherization Team were also on hand to assist individuals with any unmet needs. The event was hugely successful and beneficial for seniors needing easier access to markets. 
Senior Farmers’ Market distribution sites will continue in Lake, Porter, Starke, Pulaski, Jasper and Newton counties through the end of the program.

NWICA also participates in the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) that benefits women, infants and children. The Women, Infants and Children LaPorte County Office will host a similar distribution/mobile food stand every 2nd and 4th Wednesday through September.

These Farmers' Market programs are made possible through federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH).


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Area IV Agency's BEED Program Helps Small Business Succeed

Richelle Peterson (pictured on right) is on a mission to give to others, by providing custom gifts, chocolate confectionery and gift baskets with a unique but affordable flare. She had been doing this as a hobby for family and friends for more than 20 years, when a series of circumstances enabled Richelle to start her own business — Richelle in a Handbasket.

“We give because we can, not because we have to,” Richelle says. “Human to human and heart to heart.”

To help her overcome business start-up expenses, Richelle contacted Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs to obtain a small loan through its Business Expansion & Entrepreneurship (BEED) program.

The BEED program promotes community lending to create meaningful, local jobs for moderate-income individuals. In today’s economy, many brilliant, hardworking individuals are unable to find gainful employment, so they decide to start their own business or access capital to grow their small business. Nationally, the majority of newly created jobs come from small businesses.

Stan Minnick, BEED Program Coordinator, assists low-to-moderate-income individuals launch new business ventures and helps small businesses with fewer than five full-time employees expand and hire more employees.

BEED Program eligibility requirements dictate that applicants:
• Must not be able to obtain a bank loan.
• Must complete training through SCORE.
• Must develop a business plan.

Loan limits are $10,000 for a new start-up or $25,000 for an expansion.

Richelle in a Handbasket is based out of Lafayette, Ind. The company offers homemade candies and sweet treats, carmel corn in a variety of flavors, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, various Indiana-made products and unique gifts. The company strives to include items for gift baskets that are custom made. Richelle has numerous local and regional corporate customers, a robust online business, as well as individuals who stop into the store to personally select items and enjoy samples and free coffee. For more information, call (765) 441-2626 or visit

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Community Action Case Managers Earn Certification

The Indiana Community Action Network has 24 newly certified Family Development Specialists.

The Family Development Specialist acts as a coach, advocate and partner in assisting families and individuals in achieving self-sufficiency. They assess the needs of families, identify goals and barriers and apply intervention strategies as indicated.

A certified Family Development Specialist is a case manager who has proven competency in applying the Family Development case management model by attending three days of training and successfully completing an exam.

The Indiana Community Action Association (IN-CAA), with funding from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), provides three opportunities each year for case managers to participate in the Family Development certification process. The first certification event of 2016 took place in April at Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Services, and the second certification opportunity was held in June at IN-CAA in Indianapolis. Each session resulted in the certification of 12 case managers.

The following individuals recently earned the Community Action Family Development Specialist certification:
Hollie Brown of Area Five Agency on Aging & Community Services
Sabrina Phillips of Combined Community Services
Janet Rusk and Kathy Walker of Community Action Program of Western Indiana
Stacey Brewsaugh and Jessy Scruggs of Human Services, Inc.
Amy Junkins, Misti Leverton and Angela Schmaeng of Interlocal Community Action Program
Sherry Bye, Beatriz Gazcon, Theresa Harney, Kelly Luker, Janice McClure, Christina Schafer and Toni Wenzel of Lincoln Hills Development Corporation
Karen Harris of Marshall County Neighborhood Center
Kelly Diernfield and Megahn Sexon of Northwest Indiana Community Action
Tierra Moorman, Mary Norris, Ronda Pope, Ashley Oliver and Crystal Sharp of South Central Community Action Program

Another Certification Event Coming August 2016
Additional case managers will have the opportunity to participate in this training in August 2016 when TRI-CAP hosts a certification event in Jasper, Ind.

More information pertaining to the Community Action Family Development program can be found at or by contacting Vicki Adams at

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