Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
August 2018 issue



Join us for the “Zero Weeks” documentary screening; three dates available


Indiana Community Action statewide conference fosters learning and fun!

10th man to walk on the moon visits Mitchell Opera House


Just Press Play fosters love of music and improved academics in young students

Purdue Extension Service leads creation of community gardens to combat food insecurity and obesity

SIEOC and partner hosts Back-to-School Block Party

Area IV Agency’s Woodlawn Preschool now in its second year

Submission instructions


Join us for the “Zero Weeks” documentary screening; three dates available

Most Americans agree that family comes first, but the United States is the only industrialized country without paid family and medical leave. In one of the richest countries in the world, having a baby, a medical emergency or an aging parent can erase a person's financial future.
Weaving powerful stories together with insightful interviews with leading policymakers and business owners, the award-winning documentary “Zero Weeks” explores America's paid-leave crisis, the cost of doing nothing and what we can do about it.
Indiana Institute for Working Families is pleased to partner with AARP Indiana and local organizations to bring this film to five locations across Indiana and to engage policymakers and audience members in discussion about paid-leave policies.

Please join us for the film that has been awarded Best Documentary by the International Women's Film Festival, the Colorado International Film Festival and the Spotlight Film Awards. Share your #paidleave story, and commit to taking action to secure paid leave for Hoosiers.

Screening Locations: 

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Indiana Community Action statewide conference fosters learning and fun!

On July 11 and 12, more than 170 representatives of the Indiana Community Action network gathered for “It’s a Family Affair,” a conference built around the needs and interests of our clientele. The conference was held in Evansville at the Tropicana Hotel and included 34 break-out sessions on topics ranging from child safety programs to responses to Indiana’s opioid crisis.

Participants engaged in management-related sessions on:

  • Strategic planning

  • Community needs assessments

  • Leadership

  • Program planning and evaluation

  • And more

Other break-out sessions covered topics such as:

  • Family Development - Network members and family-development programs gathered to share poverty causes and brainstorm solutions (pictured on right). In a related session, several different programs created a logic model connecting needs and activities with expected outcomes.

  • Weatherization - This tract had a wonderful turnout, with weatherization representatives from more than half of the agencies attending the conference. This tract included guest speakers from Brightpoint, South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP), Interlocal Community Action Program (ICAP), Indiana Community Action Association (IN-CAA) and the monitoring team representing the Indiana Housing and Community Development Association (IHCDA). In addition to the informative sessions, Tri-Cap inspired engaging discussions by bringing in a kitchen range that was compliant with the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and an experimental fan-flow measuring device.

  • Public Policy - Policy experts joined forces with the Indiana Institute for Working Families to explain how a bill becomes a law in our great state, and where and how individuals can influence the process. Andrew Bradley, senior policy analyst at the Institute, presented a sneak preview of the Institute’s upcoming report on how working families are faring in Indiana. Jessica Fraser, director, and Amy Carter, policy analyst, shared updates on various federal bills of interest.

Lunchtime inspiration
In the lunch-time plenary session, The Honorable Lloyd Winnecke, mayor of Evansville, welcomed the group to the city, and Dr. Richard Pimentel, a champion for those facing challenges, entertained and motivated the audience with a combination of personal stories and life advice. Dr. Pimentel’s life has been portrayed in the movie “Music Within."

Fun and fellowship
Following a full day of learning, conference attendees walked next door to Boogie Nights for an evening of entertainment provided by The Browne Sisters, a celebrated and very talented local musical group. Though the disco ball didn’t twirl, many Community Action staff members took a spin on the dance floor.

Whether they won or lost in the casino, the auction or both, participants returned to their agencies with new ideas and new connections. Those who attended the session on self-care even went home with magic wands. Community Action isn’t for the faint of heart, but, hopefully, this retreat from day-to-day work and the positive learning and conversation filled everyone with renewed energy to continue the work at home.


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10th man to walk on the moon visits
Mitchell Opera House

United States Air Force Brigadier General and NASA Astronaut Charlie Duke made a presentation as part of the Gallactic Gathering II at the Mitchell Opera House on July 21. The event was completely sold out.

During his time in Mitchell, Duke also posed for photographs with the public at Virgil Grissom’s Boyhood Home. Hoosier Uplands sponsored Charlie Duke’s appearance, and all the proceeds from the event have gone to the Virgil I. Grissom Memorial, Inc. Hoosier Uplands and the Mitchell Opera House were honored to host such an honorable man and be part of such an amazing event.

Charlie Duke is one of only 12 men who have walked on the moon. Charlie was the 10th to step foot on the lunar surface on April 21, 1972, and he was the youngest to ever do so. Today only five men remain with us, and only two of these five speak about their time on the moon. Charlie Duke is one of those two.


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    Pictured above: String Specialist Jesse Hawkins shows a student how to string her violin, part of the Just Press Play after-school music academy for children.

Just Press Play fosters love of music and improved academics in young students

Pictured below: Dr. Rebecca Chappell helps a student learn how to play the saxophone.

Just Press Play is an intensive, after-school instrumental music academy for children in third through fifth grades in Anderson and Madison counties. The program recently completed its first semester, with the graduates from Class I now forming the new Community Youth Symphony. JobSource provides all the instruments to the students, free of charge.

The academy is taught exclusively by full-time, local professional musicians who are symphony- and recording-studio players and/or hold doctorate degrees in their instrumental field. The students receive:

  • Private and group lessons and supervised practice
  • Training in music theory
  • Keyboard skills and rhythm
  • Exposure to orchestral music and composers.

“This is just the beginning of this program,” says JoAnna Collette, JobSource’s executive director. “We are excited for the ability to bring professional music into the lives of our young children, something they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience.”

The impact of this academy goes beyond teaching low-income based children how to play an instrument and read music. Studying music and an instrument has been proven to increase memory, sharpen concentration, enhance coordination and improve both reading and mathematical abilities. Additionally, music and instrumentation studies expose children to cultural history, teach perseverance and foster self-expression. The sense of achievement the Just Press Play Class I students enjoyed was remarkable.

Allison Hester, mother of Lillian, a fourth grader in the program, says the Just Press Play music program has made a positive difference in her daughter. “Lilly really enjoyed the program and was very excited. She can’t wait to get back to the program this fall. This program has given her a new confidence. She is not as shy as she used to be and now has a love for music.”

Academy Music Director John Huntoon, principal trombonist with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra and director of music for Central Christian Church, said he was impressed both by the level of instruction for the program and also by the amazing progression of the students — both musically and socially. “I’m even more enthusiastic for Class II this fall now that we have had such a successful first session," he says.

The academy and youth orchestra program will host fall and spring sessions this school year.


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Purdue Extension Service leads creation of community gardens to combat food insecurity and obesity

Michigan City residents and organizations are looking for ways to combat food insecurity, childhood obesity and chronic diseases to make the city a healthier and more active environment. After Purdue Extension Service conducted a community assessment, a community garden idea was born.

The idea was pitched to community leaders from Michigan City’s Community Development Program, Eastport Improvement Association, Franciscan Health and North Central Community Action Agencies, Inc. (NCCAA) and was an immediate hit.

Two community gardens have been developed — one at Walker Park in Eastport and one at North Central Community Center on the west side. These gardens enable residents to grow or pick fresh produce for free. The gardens are maintained by a garden manager and volunteers, including the youth of the North Central Summer Youth Program, who maintained three of the Eastport garden beds during their six-week summer camp. Purdue Extension Service, along with the 4-H Educator, also worked with children from the NCCAA Emmet D. Wise Center on a 4-H Stem Garden Program during the summer.

Proceeds from the Madeline and George Smrt Fund at the LaPorte County Unity Foundation were utilized for the Westside garden.


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SIEOC and partner hosts Back-to-School Block Party

More than 200 people gathered on July 24 for the first Back-to-School Block Party, hosted by Southeastern Indiana Economic Opportunity Corporation (SIEOC) and Covering Kids and Families of Indiana.

Event leaders served 68 families, benefiting 154 children. Each of these children were given backpacks and school supplies. 

SIEOC staff members worked very hard to organize this event, which included 19 other community partners.


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Area IV Agency’s Woodlawn Preschool now in its second year

Woodlawn Preschool celebrated its first full year with an end-of-year party for its Class of 2018 on May 25.

The celebration included the children singing songs and reciting poems for their family members. Each family was given a memory book that included many pictures of their children engaged in wonderful learning experiences. The celebration concluded with an ice cream social.

The preschool was made possible by the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant from the Indiana Department of Education. Area IV Agency On Aging and Community Action Programs worked in collaboration with Twin Lakes School Corporation and Boys and Girls Club of White County to apply for the grant. The preschool is currently housed in Woodlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Ind.

Woodlawn Preschool’s class of 2019 began its new year on Aug. 8.


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