Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
December/January 2019 issue



TAKE ACTION with IIWF during Indiana’s legislative session


Christmas Surprises:
Benton County Community Foundation provides assistance to local CAPWI programs

Cape offers free books to community through lending libraries

Pace’s JUMP! program helps participants gain job-readiness skills

Area IV Agency’s Ramp-Up Indiana Program helps family reunite for the holidays

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TAKE ACTION with IIWF during Indiana’s
legislative session

The Indiana General Assembly is back in session!

To set more Hoosier families on a path to prosperity, the Indiana Institute for Working Families will focus on five priority areas as part of its ambitious 2019 Legislative Policy Agenda.

The status of working families in Indiana leaves much to be desired. Even though unemployment is low, too many Hoosiers still struggle to afford the basics, such as adequate housing, food, transportation and child care. Inequality is rising. Indiana is falling behind its neighbor states on measures of well-being. We need to start moving in the right direction.

The Institute’s policy agenda focuses on:

  • Stopping Predatory Lending: Other states save working families millions by capping interest rates and fees. Indiana should cap payday loans at 36 percent APR and prevent increases in fees and interest on other financial products.
  • Unlocking Early Education: Parents and caregivers want — but struggle to access and afford — high-quality, early-learning environments for their young children. Indiana should remove restrictions on On-My-Way Pre-K, boost funding and consider a child care tax credit to put quality care in families' reach.
  • Transforming TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was meant to be a lifeline when families struggle, but, in Indiana, eligibility and benefits levels have eroded to 16 percent of the federal poverty level. It's past time to raise eligibility and benefits.
  • Improving Job Quality: Indiana's workforce doesn't look the same as it did in the past, so its policies shouldn't, either. Pregnant women should be provided reasonable accommodations, so they can safely stay on the job. Furthermore, we need paid family leave to build strong families and a strong economy.
  • Increasing Earnings: Too many of Indiana's jobs do not pay enough to meet basic needs and support a family. Indiana should raise its minimum wage and increase funding for workforce training programs that connect Hoosiers to higher-paying jobs.

The Institute for Working Families
Needs Your Help!

The Institute is collecting Community Action staff and client stories about payday-loan borrowing and paid leave. These stories are immensely helpful to the Institute's work. Share your payday-loan or paid-leave story.

What can we accomplish on the road ahead?

That depends on our state lawmakers — and you!

Visit our Take Action page to learn what you can do to help set Indiana on the right path forward.


Pictured above: Benton Community Foundation board members Barbara Creek (far left) and Katrina Molter (second from
) present a $500 Santa Grant to the Benton County Head Start program.

Christmas Surprises
Benton County Community Foundation provides assistance to
local CAPWI programs

Barbara Creek and Katrina Molter, board members of the Benton Community Foundation, spread Christmas joy by delivering Santa Grant checks to local programs run by Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI).

In total, Benton County Foundation gifted $1,500 in Santa Grants to CAPWI programs:

  • $500 for Benton County Head Start families – Wendy Frevert, Benton County Head Start family facilitator, will use the grant funds to purchase rescue ladders and carbon monoxide detectors for 14 Head Start families.
  • $500 for Women, Infants, Children (WIC) clients – Kristy Frier, WIC director, will use the Santa Grant funds to provide WIC clients with diapers and wipes for their children.
  • $500 for the Community Food & Service Co-op – Co-op volunteers Judy Platt, Chris Sheetz and Tracy Platt accepted the Santa Grant funds and plan to purchase everyday essentials that run low at the Co-op.

CAPWI leaders would like to express their gratitude to the Benton Community Foundation for their generosity.


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Pictured above: (From left) Jessica Parks, Stephen Downing, Jr. and Nicholas Byrdo, all community relations employees for Managed Health Systems, pose with Gale Brocksmith, CAPE director for planning and corporate affairs, next to one of two lending libraries now available at CAPE locations.

Cape offers free books to community through
lending libraries

Calling all readers!

The Community Action Program of Evansville & Vanderburgh County, Inc. (CAPE) now offers free books through lending libraries at two of their locations in Evansville — outside of CAPE’s administrative offices and at the CAPE PLACE Head Start classroom. Located outdoors, the books are free to the public 24 hours a day, many of the books having been donated by CAPE staff as well.

The lending libraries were made possible by Indianapolis-based Managed Health Systems (MHS), the creator of the Ambetter and Allwell insurance plans. MHS completely funds, installs and maintains lending libraries throughout the state.

Want a lending library installed at your CAP agency?

Contact Nicholas Byrdo, community relations coordinator, at Managed Health Services at or call (317) 684-9478, ext. 40236.


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Pictured above: Students from the 2018 JUMP! class called themselves "The Successful Seven" while completing the program's six learning sessions.

Pace's JUMP! program helps participants gain
job-readiness skills

Pace Community Action Agency leaders had a vision — to assist unemployed or underemployed individuals, 24 to 40 years old, in gaining job skills and job placements. With that, the JUMP! (Journey Upward, Making Progress) program was born, funded by an innovation grant from the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority.

Students must go through an application process to join the program and then complete six, two-hour learning sessions, which include:

  • Completing a personality assessment
  • Participating in mock interviews
  • Learning about business dress, nutrition and budgeting
  • Opening a bank account
  • Receiving work-appropriate clothes and a hair-grooming gift certificate (Pictured on right: Students visited Kohl's to learn about business dress and find appropriate clothing.)

During the final learning session on Dec. 6, students shared what they learned and networked with local business partners. During the new year, participants will be placed with local businesses to gain work experience.

“I thought I was going to learn some job skills when I signed up for this program, but I learned so much more,” said one participant. “I learned about myself, my skills and things I need to improve on. I am so happy I participated.”

[See Also: Washington Times Herald article on the JUMP! program]


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Area IV Agency’s Ramp-Up Indiana Program helps family reunite for the holidays

Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs built its 13th accessibility ramp through the Ramp-Up Indiana Program on Dec. 16.

This ramp was built for Loran Robison, a client with quadriplegia due to a recent car accident. Robison’s wife, Betty, explained he was admitted to Mulberry Health and Rehabilitation Center to undergo rehabilitative therapy following his accident.

“Loran is getting the medical attention he needs from Mulberry, and I am working on home modifications so he can [be discharged],” Betty explained. “This has been a very stressful time for us, and we worried that we would not be able to spend this Christmas together at home. Having this ramp in place means that he can come home for the holidays, which is such a blessing for us.”

The building of this ramp was made possible by volunteer assistance from Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette and Servants at Work (SAWs).

Partnerships with Habitat, SAWs and the Rotary Club of Monticello in White County enable Area IV to build ramps in Benton, Carroll, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. These organizations provide volunteer labor, which significantly reduces the building cost.

The Ramp-Up Indiana Program is funded through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Area IV had originally intended to build eight ramps with the provided funding but will ultimately have enough to build 14, the majority of which were built outside of Tippecanoe County. Area IV is currently in the process of applying for additional Ramp-Up Indiana Program funding.


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