Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
October 2017 issue



CAPWI's TALKS program hosts Youth Leadership Workshop

Hoosier Uplands receives funding for new apartment project

Pace honors family with Self-Reliance Award at 21st Annual Stakeholders' Gala
(Also: Humorous Keynote Speaker lightens up Pace Gala)

NWICA’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program has another successful summer


NWICA mourns the loss of beloved employee

IIWF Blog: 2016 Census shows rising tide in Indiana, but some boats still anchored underwater

NWICA celebrates another associate earning CCAP designation

Note from Editor:
Please note that the next issue of the IN-CAA e-news will be a combined November/December issue. Submissions are due Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Submission instructions


CAPWI’s TALKS program hosts
Youth Leadership Workshop

Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI) has a youth leadership and mentoring program called Transferring A Little Knowledge Systematically (TALKS). The vision of the school-based program is to share wisdom between generations. To kick off this school year, program leaders recently held a Youth Leadership Workshop at Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center in Hillsboro, Ind. Participants included 48 students from three different school corporations, ranging from third to ninth grade, as well as mentors and school personnel.

The workshop included leadership and team-building exercises that took place outdoors on the camp’s Challenge Mountain low-ropes course, with Twin Lakes Camp staff facilitating. After a lunch provided by Twin Lakes, attendees participated in a workshop on taking responsibility.

What is TALKS?

The TALKS program began in February 2015 at one elementary school and has since expanded into three elementary and three junior high/middle schools. Overall, 53 students and 19 mentors will be starting mentoring sessions for the 2017-2018 school year. The program involves weekly meetings between a mentor and three students of the same gender and grade. They discuss a gender-specific, issue-oriented curriculum, a structure that creates a group dynamic that enhances the mentoring experience through peer-to-peer support.

Each school year concludes with a banquet where students receive personal recognitions from their mentors, and mentors are honored for their service. Over the last couple of years, students have received scholarships to attend one week of summer camp at Twin Lakes Camp — scholarships that are made possible by donations from Twin Lakes and the Attica and Covington affiliates of the Western Indiana Community Foundation.

Some of the unique features of TALKS are:

  • A minimal time commitment — each session lasts for 30 minutes.

  • A content-based curriculum — the TALKS curriculum covers many topics, such as academics, self-esteem, peers, family, relationships and life skills.

  • A one-to-three approach — one adult is matched with three students of the same gender. This group creates a positive peer environment for the students.

The curriculum is designed to:

  • Be structured, practical and pragmatic

  • Address topics that are often hard to discuss

  • Create opportunities for older men and women to share wisdom regarding positive, ethical and responsible living

  • Build leadership skills in young students

Interested in becoming a mentor?

We are always recruiting new mentors who will start with elementary aged students generally in the third or fourth grade. Mentors will follow the students as they progress forward to other grade levels. The curriculum changes at the seventh-grade level to address issues pertaining to concerns and outside influences prevalent in upper grade levels. Learn more about the program and download the Mentor Application.

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Hoosier Uplands receives funding for
new apartment project

Last month, Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation received notice of funding for a new apartment project called Eagle Place Apartments. The project will convert the former St. John’s School in Loogootee, Ind., into 20 apartment units for seniors over the age of 55. It is the 16th housing project that Hoosier Uplands has provided for the community since 2000.

Funding for the project comes from:

Construction begins this month with an expected completion in August 2018.

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Pace honors family of three with Self-Reliance Award at 21st Annual Stakeholders’ Gala

Pace Community Action Agency leaders awarded a Self-Reliance Award to a hardworking family of three at the Annual Stakeholders’ Gala on Sept. 21.

Meet Denise, Cameron and Devin 

In 1995, Denise Mandabach enrolled her sons — Cameron and Devin — in Pace’s Head Start Program where she was a frequent volunteer. Later, she received energy assistance and utilized the Weatherization Program to replace a furnace. She also received health services through Pace’s Health Connection Program. Today, Denise teaches job readiness and life skills to individuals with special needs and has been with her company for more than 15 years.
Cameron graduated from high school in 2009 and was a selected recipient of the Judith Bobe Scholarship, awarded to past Head Start students as they transition to higher education. Cameron was a volunteer with Head Start during his high school tenure, before he went on to graduate from Indiana University. Today, he is a manager living in Hillsboro, N.C.
Devin also volunteered in Head Start classrooms during his junior and senior years of high school. In 2010, like his brother before him, Devin received the Judith Bobe Scholarship. He completed his graduate studies in 2016 and achieved his doctorate of pharmacy from Purdue University. He is currently employed as a pharmacist.

Tai Blythe, associate director of Pace, shared her thoughts on this successful family: “As we think about self-reliance and the services provided by Pace to help others in their quests, we are very proud of this family!”

Humorous keynote speaker lightens up
Pace's Stakeholder Gala

Nationally renowned speaker, blogger and fellow nonprofit leader, Vu Le (pronounced “voo lay”), entertained the crowd of business owners, customers, government officials and staff members at Pace’s Annual Stakeholders’ Gala on Sept. 21.

Le is the executive director of Seattle-based Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit that promotes social justice for people of color. His humorous, relatable stories about running a nonprofit organization reminded attendees that humor can be found in the nonprofit world.

Learn more about Vu Le and his organization and get a taste of his great sense of humor in his website biography.

Pictured above: Bertha Proctor, Pace CEO, poses with
Vu Le, keynote speaker, at this year's Pace Stakeholder Gala.


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NWICA’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program has another successful summer

Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA) celebrates another successful run of its Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which provides eligible senior citizens with checks to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets.

NWICA began the distribution of checks in June and distributed its last check in August. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Indiana State Department of Health, NWICA's program served 840 seniors in Lake, Porter, Starke, Pulaski, Jasper and Newton counties again this year.

Due to the early legwork of program leaders, new stands were also added in Newton, Jasper and Pulaski counties, effectively reducing senior travel time to participating markets.

In addition to easier access to better nutrition, seniors in all six counties were also provided education on many helpful topics, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Low-Income Subsidy and the Medicare Savings Program.

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NWICA mourns the loss of beloved employee

Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA) prepares to begin the very busy Energy Assistance Program season without one of its own family members. Sadly, Gloria Robinson (pictured at right), NWICA’s Energy Assistance supervisor, died on Sept. 22, 2017.

Robinson was a tenured NWICA employee for more than 40 years, having been recognized across the state as one of the best. She provided dedicated service to each one of her clients every day, directly assisting more than 1.2 million people throughout her career in the program.

Robinson listed “helping others” as one of her hobbies, in addition to spending time with her family and friends.

Because she will be missed by her NWICA friends and the many people she served, this season will be dedicated to her cherished and honored memory.

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2016 Census shows rising tide in Indiana, but some boats still anchored underwater

Original blog post published by IIWF Staff on Sept. 22, 2017

New U.S. Census Bureau data show that 2016 was overall a year of gains for Indiana, making incremental progress on the long-term task of reclaiming its pre-recession status. Indiana’s gains are a partial reflection of the national recovery as U.S. incomes finally pulled above their previous high in 1999. The U.S. also saw rare year-on-year improvements in poverty and health insurance coverage. And while Indiana didn’t match these highs, it did see areas of encouraging gains, including a strong single-year rate of increase in median household income and a decrease in child poverty.

Read the rest of the blog to learn more about several troubling indicators that show where Indiana must focus now, including its poverty rate, racial income and poverty disparities and its gender pay gap.

Want help using new Census data?

If you are a community action agency employee who would like assistance using new Census data to help inform services in your region, please contact IIWF at (317) 638-4232.

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NWICA celebrates another associate earning CCAP designation

The Community Action Partnership honored individuals throughout the state who earned the designation of Certified Community Action Professionals (CCAP) at the August Annual Convention in Philadelphia. Becky Ruiz-Harbinson (pictured at right), the 2-1-1 manager for Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA), was among the honored individuals.

NWICA is proud to be a CCAP-led organization with five other associates all possessing the distinguished designation, including Jennifer Malone, chief operating officer, Anna Schoon, director of planning and business development, Robyn Freel, finance director, Melissa Bohacek, communications director, and Gina Gomez, community services manger.

CCAP is a national credentialing program for Community Action managers and leaders who work to help low-income people achieve economic stability.

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