Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
June 2017 issue



IIWF helps lead campaign to protect SNAP for Hoosiers

These helpful resources are available to case managers & community action staff members

CAPWI announces winner of Joan Cline Memorial Scholarship


CAPWI celebrates the end of another great year of the TALKS Leadership/Mentoring Program

CAPE Minority Health Initiative hosts event to discuss Indiana’s infant mortality rate


Area IV honors 106-year-old, independent senior at annual meeting

Combined Community Services honors college graduates

Hoosier Uplands works to improve communities with Community Development & Improvement Program

PACE hits the road for Head Start’s second Annual Recruitment Day

Submission information


IIWF helps lead campaign to protect
SNAP for Hoosiers

Together with Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, the Indiana Institute for Working Families (IIWF) is leading a campaign called SNAP Works for Hoosiers to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the drastic and unprecedented cuts proposed in President Donald Trump’s budget.

SNAP Works for Hoosiers acts to dispel common myths about SNAP, educating lawmakers and the public about existing work requirements and the limitations on what SNAP dollars can be used to purchase.

What’s at stake?

We know how valuable SNAP is to millions, including the 742,000 Hoosiers who depended on SNAP in 2016 to feed themselves and their families.

The budget cuts $193 billion from SNAP nationwide over the next 10 years, reducing overall federal funding for the program by more than 25 percent. What does that look like? Forty-five billion fewer meals for hungry Americans.

SNAP as we know it will likely also be attacked by the Farm Bill, the fiscal year 2018 budget and congressional leadership’s attempts to reform the safety net. These changes could include outright cuts or structural deviations like block granting, state cost-sharing or more rigorous work requirements. If the cost-sharing idea is implemented, states will be expected to pay for 25 percent of their SNAP benefits by 2023. This could mean a rise in taxes to cover the costs or changes in eligibility requirements, which will cut people off from essential nutritional assistance.

Needless to say, the stakes are high.

What are the benefits of SNAP?

SNAP was created with bipartisan support in the 1960s as the Food Stamp Program. Since then, it has been the most effective anti-hunger program in the United States.

SNAP Facts:

  • SNAP has pulled more than 8 million people out of poverty
  • SNAP beneficiaries spend 93 percent of funds directly on food purchases, while program processes monitor the misuse of funds. Currently only 1 percent of funds are misused.
  • SNAP availability responds quickly to economic turns, increasing when poverty and unemployment are high and shrinking when those rates go down

Do you have clients who have used SNAP? Help us out!

A big part of SNAP Works for Hoosiers will be discussing the benefits of the program with Indiana congressional delegates so they can be advocates for SNAP on Capitol Hill.

Stories from constituents are incredibly influential, because they make numbers and data more human and relatable. If you have clients who have benefited from SNAP who are willing to share their stories, please contact Amy Carter at

Follow SNAP Works for Hoosiers on Facebook and Twitter to be part of the conversation.

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These helpful resources are available to case managers & community action staff members

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was founded in the wake of the Great Recession to protect and empower consumers, has a couple of features that may be useful to case managers and other community action staff.

  • A complaint process. If a client is having trouble with a financial product or service, submitting the story to the complaint database could result in a more timely response and resolution. It also helps the CFPB track patterns, go after bad actors and develop rules to better protect consumers. Clients may submit complaints here. To date, Hoosiers have submitted more than 8,000 complaints to the CFPB, and 97 percent of consumers received timely responses. Have you filed a complaint? We’d love to hear about your experience. Email

  • Educational resources. Take time to browse the CFPB’s long list of educational resources. Among the list is a whole page of tools and studies specifically related to low-income and economically vulnerable consumers. Find something you like? We’d love to hear about your experience. Email

Resources like these are often highlighted in the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter today so you don’t miss the next issue!

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Pictured above: Heidi Zenor (left) poses with her daughter, Karsyn, the winner of this year's Joan Cline Memorial Scholarship.

CAPWI announces winner of Joan Cline
Memorial Scholarship

Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI) is excited to announce Warren County’s Karsyn Zenor as the winner of this year’s Joan Cline Memorial Scholarship award.

Karsyn attends Seeger High School in West Lebanon. She lives in Attica with her mother, Heidi Zenor, and plans to attend Purdue University to study animal science. Karsyn has been a member of the Indiana Junior Angus Association, FFA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and the Student Government Association. She also plays softball and volleyball and volunteers at her church.

CAPWI offers this $1,000 scholarship to graduating seniors for each year they attend higher education, up to a maximum of four years. Scholarships are awarded only within CAPWI’s six-county service area, which includes Benton, Fountain, Montgomery, Parke, Vermillion and Warren.

The scholarship is offered in memory of Joan E. Cline, who was the executive director of CAPWI until her death in December 2004. Joan dedicated her life to helping families and individuals become self-sufficient. Joan believed that assistance through higher education was necessary. Through this scholarship, CAPWI continues Joan’s work in helping these outstanding young people attain their individual career goals.

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CAPWI celebrates the end of another great year of the TALKS Leadership/Mentoring Program

TALKS Leadership/Mentoring Program, run by the Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI), is a program designed to increase emotional intelligence and wisdom in young people through adult mentorship. TALKS stands for Transferring a Little Knowledge Systematically. On Sunday, May 7, mentors, students, families and local school personnel joined together at Twin Lakes Camp & Conference Center to celebrate another year of the program’s success in Fountain County.

The event featured a zip line and bounce house for kids, a delicious dinner prepared by the Twin Lakes staff and a special awards program.

Four guest speakers offered keynote addresses during the awards program:

  • Dr. Harold Davis, author of the TALKS curriculum. He spoke to the group about the importance of following directions and learning new things.

  • Dr. Ollie Watt Davis, a professor of music at the University of Illinois, an accomplished soprano (having made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall) and the wife of TALKS founder Dr. Davis. She spoke about service to others and closed by singing “This Little Light of Mine.”

  • Muff Rennick, executive director of CAPWI. She shared her personal story of overcoming poverty as a young child and how mentors in her life helped her find a path to success.

  • Dale White, executive director of the Western Indiana Community Foundation. He spoke about how “personal initiative” and staying committed helped him achieve his goals.

The evening concluded with Kathy Walker, program director of TALKS of Fountain County, presenting certificates of appreciation to mentors and certificates of excellence to the students. Mentors shared positive attributes of each student, and students were awarded scholarships for one week of summer camp at Twin Lakes.

Walker expressed her thankfulness for the partners who made these scholarships possible, including Attica and Covington Community Foundations, which provided the scholarships to Attica and Covington students; and the donors of Twin Lakes Camp, who provided the scholarships to Southeast Fountain School Corporation students.

“We are truly blessed to have the partners and volunteers that we do to make this program possible,” said Walker. “Everyone has come together to help our youth grow in wisdom and emotional intelligence throughout their school years. I am proud to be the director of such an awesome program in this great community.”

About the TALKS Leadership/Mentoring Program

Originally founded by Dr. Harold Davis in Champaign, Ill., the TALKS program is based on a model that involves one adult mentor and three students meeting together once a week at school for 30 minutes to talk about wisdom and life skills.

The Fountain County program is active at Attica Elementary, Covington Elementary, Covington Middle School and Fountain Central Junior High School, where there are 20 adult mentors and 56 students involved in all.

Seeking mentors for 2017-2018 school year!

More mentors are needed for the 2017-2018 school year. Mentors are matched with three students selected by the schools based on criteria provided by the TALKS program. For more information, contact Kathy Walker at (765) 793-4881 or

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CAPE Minority Health Initiative hosts event to discuss Indiana's infant mortality rate

On May 15, Vanderburgh County health officials gathered at a lunch event sponsored by the CAPE Minority Health Initiative that focused on the issues surrounding Indiana’s high infant mortality rate.

Learn more about the event in an article posted by Britney Taylor on the 44news website.

The CAPE Minority Health Initiative was developed by the Community Action Program of Evansville and Vanderburgh County (CAPE) and the Indiana Minority Health Coalition to focus on “eliminating health disparities and enhancing the quality of life through education, advocacy and quality health care services.”

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Pictured above: Elsie Allen (center, in pink), a longtime Area IV client, was honored at Area IV's 43rd Annual Meeting. She is joined (from left to right) by her daughter, Louise Fugate, Sen. Donnelly's Regional Director Justin Mount, Sen. Rokita's staff representative Jonathon Matthes, Area IV board member Cindy Murray and State Representative Sheila Klinker.

Area IV honors 106-year-old, independent senior at annual meeting

In a small, rural town near Lafayette resides a sweet lady named Elsie Allen. Elsie has been a client with Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs since the mid-1990s, when she began receiving services from the Energy Assistance Program and Homemaking Services program. Since then, she has continued to utilize the services offered to her, including home-delivered meals and the use of a personal response system monitor that enables her to live independently at 106 years of age.

Elsie and her daughter were honored guests at Area IV’s 43rd annual meeting. She received many accolades for her accomplishments and successful use of the agency’s services. Elsie enjoyed herself and obviously still knows how to have fun. With a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face, Elsie requested to have her picture taken “with the handsome young men,” from Senator Joe Donnelly and Senator Todd Rokita’s offices — Justin Mount and Jonathon Matthes, respectively.

Elsie’s daughter, Louise Fugate, says she is so thankful for the 10 years of excellent care management that her mother has received from Angela Snyder, a liaison at Area IV. Knowing that Elsie is an avid card player (and the winner more often than not), Angela takes the time to play with Elsie when she comes to visit, something Louise appreciates.

She says she feels very blessed to have her mother still around and living independently, adding that Elsie would have had to live in a nursing facility had it not been for the helpful services from Area IV.

Genetics may play a part in longevity, but Area IV leaders say they are positive that good care, careful planning and meeting needs in the best way possible also have a large role in keeping someone living independently at this age.

Area IV associates look forward to celebrating Elsie’s 107th birthday with her later this year!

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Combined Community Services Honors
College Graduates

On Friday, May 19, Combined Community Services staff members held an open house event to celebrate four of their Project Independence clients who recently earned their degrees from Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana Tech.

The graduates and their families were treated to a special evening of food, music, gifts and touching speeches. Combined Community Services leaders say they are so proud of how hard these women have worked and are excited for their futures!
Project Independence is a mentoring program that helps low-income families in Kosciusko County achieve economic independence through education. The program’s ultimate goal is to eliminate all need for financial assistance from private or governmental resources. REAL Services uses Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds to assist agencies like Combined Community Services in providing these Family Development Programs.

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

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Hoosier Uplands works to improve communities with Community Development & Improvement Program

One of the goals of the Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation is to improve living conditions in its service area. To accomplish this, the agency has a Community Development Improvement Program (CDIP) that focuses on eliminating blighted living quarters, improving existing structures, improving or creating community spaces and assisting in general community improvement.

The CDIP has enabled Hoosier Uplands to address needs within the agency’s service area that might not otherwise have funding.

Recent projects have included:

  • Mitchell Sidewalk Project – The sidewalks in the Mitchell area near City Hall were in such bad shape that they were practically non-existent. This recent project resulted in brand-new sidewalks from City Hall to Main Street.

  • Orleans Façade Project – The CDIP provided the Town of Orleans with a $20,000 grant for a façade project in the downtown area to fix up areas damaged by a recent fire.

  • North Lawrence Career Center Machining Class Equipment – While admittedly different from other projects that have been done in the past, CDIP leaders wanted to help match student training with local workforce needs in Bedford. To do so, the CDIP provided the North Lawrence Career Center with $40,000 to purchase equipment to enhance the school’s machining class. These funds were used to purchase two computer numerical controlled (CNC) mill machines that will provide valuable learning experiences for students in various career center programs, including engineering and welding.

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Pace hits the road for Head Start’s second Annual Recruitment Day

On May 23, Head Start staff members of the Pace Community Action Agency embarked on their Second Annual Recruitment Day for the program.

The recruitment day gives staff members a chance to talk with various community organizations, representatives and families about the many benefits of the Head Start program. The program is available to children ages 3 to 5 years old. Both children and their parents benefit from the program. Children grow mentally, socially, emotionally and physically through organized activities. Parents benefit from opportunities for training on parenting skills, nutrition, health care, job skills, fatherhood and more.

Learn more about the Pace Head Start program and its qualification requirements.

If you are interested in helping the program, monetary donations, volunteering time and donations of educational materials, medical and dental examinations are appreciated.

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