Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
July 2018 issue


SIEOC celebrates employee’s tenure and successful associate degree completion

Pace employee earns prestigious SHRM-CP designation


REAL Services financial literacy classes introduce money smarts to youth

Area IV Summer Food Program provides “food that’s in when school is out!”

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SIEOC celebrates employee’s tenure and successful associate degree completion

It was November 2003 when Amber Johnson (pictured on right) first began working for Southeastern Indiana Economic Opportunity Corporation (SIEOC) in the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) department. After 14.5 years, she is the SIEOC CCR&R employee with the longest tenure, and, yet, she made time to accomplish another goal in her professional development plan.

Amber recently graduated from Ivy Tech Community College with her associate's degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) while working full time. She was also recently accepted at Indiana Wesleyan University where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in ECE.

In her current role as an outreach specialist, Amber conducts outreach in the 14 counties served by SIEOC CCR&R.

“This role comes easily to Amber since she has never met a stranger!” says Tamara Cunningham, executive director of SIEOC. “Amber is an asset to SIEOC CCR&R with her broad knowledge on technology and the child care resource and referral system and her ability to think on her feet. SIEOC is proud of Amber for her accomplishment and even more so for her dedication to SIEOC.”


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Pace employee earns prestigious SHRM-CP designation

Tai Blythe (pictured on right), Pace Community Action Agency associate director and lead consultant for WiseCAP Training & Consulting, recently obtained her Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) designation by successfully passing a rigorous exam on June 4.

Only two other Pace employees have earned this prestigious designation:

  • Dr. Bertha Proctor, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
  • Marci Rowland, SHRM-SCP, SPHR 

This designation shows a dedication to professional development and an understanding of the complex world of human resources. Learn more about the SHRM certification. Learn how to earn your certification.

These three Pace staff members also hold Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) designations


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Pictured above: Marce Bingham, asset building coordinator at REAL Services, helps her students work on a learning activity during a Youth Money Smart financial literacy class.

REAL Services financial literacy classes introduce money smarts to youth

The REAL Services Family Development Program hosted its third round of Youth Money Smart financial literacy classes in June and July for students in third through 12th grade. The fun, interactive classes were held at the Goodwill Career Center and The Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend, Ind. 

During each 2-hour session, students learned about: 

  • Basic banking skills
  • The value of money
  • The importance of saving
  • Needs vs. wants
  • Preparing for college or a trade school
  • Setting goals
  • And more!

The activities served as conversation starters with the curious participants, even inspiring one student to return the next day with a 1946 Canadian penny and ask how to find the value of the penny. On the last day, several older students had the opportunity to put their skills into practice with the Reality Store where they paid for financial obligations such as rent, mortgages, insurance, health care, entertainment and more. The younger group completed a weekly review through a scavenger hunt, working in teams to complete the given task.  

At the end of the week, students and their families enjoyed a final celebration at the Near Northwest Neighborhood Center, complete with a wonderful meal and ice cream. During the celebration, families received a recap of the week’s activities, with information about the importance of youth learning about finance at a young age before mistakes take place. Parents were encouraged to continue engaging their children about finances. All students received a certificate of completion and additional door prizes.

REAL Services leaders would like to thank the community support that made this program successful:

  • A monetary donation from Horizon Bank
  • Facility usage at Goodwill Career Center, The Robinson Community Learning Center and the Near Northwest Neighborhood Center
  • Food and gift card donations
  • Volunteered time from AmeriCorps members and “Spike,” a REAL Services Board member

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Pictured above: Children stand in line to get lunch from Area IV Agency’s Summer Food Service Program.

Area IV Summer Food Program provides
“food that’s in when school is out!”

Summer is a busy (and costly) time for families.

Parents must figure out how they are going to provide extra meals to their children during the months that school is out. To help ease this burden, Area IV Agency’s Park Place Learning Center partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to serve free summer meals to children, ages 18 and younger, at its location in White County.

During the months of June and July, Park Place staff members provide a healthy breakfast and lunch each day, ensuring children receive proper nutrition throughout the year.

This summer has been very busy with children of all ages visiting to receive a free meal. Park Place staff members enjoy seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and the excited thank-you’s they receive. Since the Park Place Learning Center is located inside the Anheier building at the Monticello City Park, many families come to eat breakfast and play in the park for a few hours before returning to eat lunch.

Area IV leaders thank the many wonderful volunteers and its local partnerships that provide activities for students during the summer months.

Being able to provide “food that’s in when school is out” has been very rewarding for all of the Park Place staff and others involved. They hope to see the program continue to grow and flourish in the years to come.


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