Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
March 2018 issue

 

NEWS

Community Food and Service Co-op founder earns 2018 Woman of Distinction award

Pace Leadership Academy brings advancement opportunities to associates

VICTORY: Payday Expansion Bill defeated — again!

COMMUNITY IMPACT

Lincoln Hills Development Corporation brings job opportunities to community with Job and Career Expo

ICAP uses grant funds to provide handicap-accessible ramps to disabled homeowners

NWICA and heart attack survivor spread important message through heart-health workshop

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Community Food and Service Co-op founder earns 2018 Woman of Distinction award

Christine (Chris) Sheetz (pictured at right) has been a lifelong Benton County resident. In addition to working at a food co-op she helped launch, Sheetz spends much of her spare time volunteering with The Salvation Army and organizing the annual Red Kettle Campaign and children’s coat drive. So it was no surprise to her colleagues when it was announced that she had earned the YWCA Greater Lafayette's Woman of Distinction award, presented at its Salute to Women event earlier this month.

Caregiving has always come naturally to Sheetz, and she recognized early on that there was a need in her Benton County community.

"It all started 15 years ago when I started working for Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI)," Sheetz said. "I work with several hundred clients a year, and working through Community Action has allowed me to see what needs there are in Benton County.”

That's when Sheetz decided she wanted to do more and helped launch the Community Food and Service Co-op in the fall of 2016. The co-op provides food and household supplies to struggling families. In just 14 months, the co-op has grown to about 250 members.

"I thought we would be lucky if we had 20 in the first year," Sheetz said. "It's just amazing that we have 250 very active members."

Hard work and helping people out is just the way Sheetz was raised.

"I grew up in a large farm family with nine children. I learned a hard work ethic early on through my parents and watching my siblings," Sheetz said. "I hope to be able to help people all of my life. Through my faith, that's what I believe I am meant to do," said Sheetz.

The 2018 Salute to Women ceremony was held on March 6 at the Trails Banquet Facility in West Lafayette, Ind. Several CAPWI employees, including members of management, the executive director and a board member attended to show their support for Sheetz.

Congratulations, Chris!

See the original article at wlfi.com. The article was edited for publication in the IN-CAA e-news.

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Pace Leadership Academy brings advancement opportunities to associates

Seven staff members recently completed the first-ever Pace Leadership Academy, a two-year internal training and continuing education program at Pace Community Action Agency.

Participants learned critical-thinking skills, role-played solving complex problems, connected with mentors and attended educational field trips. Pace created this program as a way to give frontline staff a better understanding of management skills and to fulfill some requirements of management-level positions.

Since the academy started, two of the participants have moved into management roles.

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VICTORY: Payday Expansion Bill defeated — again!

For the third year in a row, lawmakers listened to consumer advocates, faith leaders, veterans and concerned citizens and stopped a proposal to expand high-cost payday lending. HB 1319, which would have allowed payday lenders to offer installment loans at rates up to three times the current criminal loansharking rate, narrowly passed the House but was stopped in the Senate.

During the weeks leading up to legislative victory, Institute staff analyzed multiple bill drafts, produced fact sheets, met with dozens of lawmakers to discuss the harms of high-cost installment lending and provided public testimony.

This would not have been possible without your support. 

The Institute team wants to thank the Community Action Agencies that sent people to the Statehouse to testify, called their senators and representatives, encouraged their staff and board members to contact lawmakers, and worked to stop this harmful legislation.

Killing a bill to expand payday lending is an important, yet partial, victory. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Mark Messmer, we've prevented further damage, but the current two-week product still exists and will continue ensnaring low-income borrowers in high-cost debt.

Fifteen states and the military have capped all loans at 36-percent APR or less. Those states have lower consumer bankruptcy rates and save borrowers millions in fees each year. This year, we succeeded in seeing rate cap bill SB 325, introduced by Senator Greg Walker, the ranking majority member of the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee, and helped to secure strong bipartisan support from seven coauthors. We collaborated to field a poll showing that the proposal has 88-percent voter support. Unfortunately, the bill never received a hearing.    

Next year, the Institute's policy agenda will once again include a number of proposals to empower Hoosier families to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. Capping payday loans at 36-percent APR and boosting alternative products will be among them. Meanwhile, we will work to block bad policy at the federal level, like HR 3299, which would also undermine Indiana's law against lending money at unreasonably high interest rates (usury law). We will also continue to partner with fellow advocates to fight for policies that promote shared prosperity for all Hoosiers.

Keep up to date with changes in legislation and other advocacy efforts by following us on Facebook and Twitter, signing up for updates and action alerts or following the Institute’s Inside the Statehouse blog series.

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Lincoln Hills Development Corporation brings job opportunities to community with Job and Career Expo

In an effort to connect clients with hiring companies, Lincoln Hills Development Corporation (LHDC) co-hosted a Job and Career Expo on Feb. 1 in Tell City, Ind., along with Perry County Development Corporation and Lincoln Land Economic Development Corporation.

Lincoln Hills empowers people to improve their quality of life, and the agency has made huge strides in the past year by co-hosting a job fair and installing job boards in seven facilities. The goal of the expo was not only to connect the public with employment opportunities but also to provide local students the opportunity to interact with employers.

The job fair was open to the public and attracted approximately 75 job seekers, as well as seven area schools that bussed more than 1,000 students to the facility. Fifty-nine employers participated in the event.

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ICAP uses grant funds to provide handicap-accessible ramps to disabled homeowners

Disabled homeowners in four Indiana counties are now able to easily maneuver from their homes, thanks to the work of dedicated Interlocal Community Action Program, Inc. (ICAP) staff members, volunteers and Servants at Work (SAWs).

ICAP utilized generous funds from a $25,000 Ramp It Up Grant from Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and a $5,000 donation from the Home Depot Foundation to complete 11 ramps for disabled homeowners in Henry, Hancock, Rush and Wayne counties. 

Each home was required to:
• Clear a National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 environmental review
• Be the primary residence of the homeowner
• Be a single, site-built home
• Have a homeowner with a total gross household income of less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)

The homeowners were grateful to be able to go outside without assistance. One homeowner who has been shut in her home for several years shared that she is now able to enjoy her deck and get to the nearby park on her scooter.

“Thank you and your team for all the hard work on Sunday,” the client said. “One of my granddaughters was here from Virginia, and she was thrilled her Nana can now leave the house in good weather!”

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NWICA and heart attack survivor spread important message through heart-health workshop

February was Heart Health month. To honor this, Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA) and its contracted Focal Point provider (Multicultural Wellness Network's Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program) partnered with heart attack survivor, Sue Celbek, to present a workshop promoting heart health.

Chelbek (pictured at right, in red) actually died from a heart attack, but that’s where her remarkable story begins. When Chelbek, a mom of three children, felt sharp pains in her chest, she tried to dismiss the symptoms. She was fairly active and fit, so she did not consider at that time that she could be having a heart attack. When the pain didn’t subside, however, she drove herself to the emergency room, even running the last red light.

Once inside the ER, she informed the nurse that she thought she was having a heart attack. The nurse asked her about her symptoms, but Chelbek wasn’t able to answer the question. At that moment, Chelbek’s heart stopped beating, and she was later told that she had died. Today, Chelbek credits the team at the ER, the doctors and her cardiologist at IU Health – LaPorte for reviving her and the follow-up care she received. She knows that the care they provided gave her a second chance at life with her children.

During the heart-health workshop, attendees shared their personal stories, discussed ways to be heart healthy and unanimously reported that they intended to have a conversation with their physicians about their own heart disease risk factors.

NWICA officials said they were grateful to Chelbek for her dedication and openness with sharing her story. They encourage everyone to take their heart health seriously not only in February, but all year round!

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