Monday, August 24, 2009

Community Voices

A Memoir: The Belle Witch

By: Phyllis Nash

I have been having more experiences with lost and found! Some are quite eerie.

My son had left some footwear over here and never seemed much concerned to take it with him, so I threw it into a green recycle bag with some papers. I thought that he’d get them when he needed them. However, soon after, when he wanted them, I couldn’t find them in with the papers, but he said not to worry.

My son did want to look at some family pictures that he had found. We’d thought that they were in some moving totes, but he found those in a plastic box, underneath the bookcase. We enjoyed looking at the pictures and my son left.

Next, I continued looking in another handbag and found a camera for which I had been searching a long time. Further looking in to the green paper recycle bag, I found the footwear!

Then something from the bookcase fell by my feet all by itself. It was a book, The Bell Witch by Charles Bailey Bell, a ancestor. I’d been wondering about this prized book for several years.

Many years ago, my late father had mentioned that The Bell Witch was quite a story, but he never went into details. My late husband used to haul riders back and forth to work and one of the men came to visit after he had retired. Later, after his visit he gave us the book, The Bell Witch, and said to let him know what we thought of it. He had relations in Adams, Tennessee, the location of the story. He quoted them as telling of how the ground near the Bell land would slide under them. About 200 years ago, the wealthy Belle family and their visitors heard a woman’s voice; then strange things happened. The witch spirit caused a male relative to be poisoned. The bottle appeared and a lone spoon dipped it into his mouth and he subsequently died. The spirit would laugh at bad circumstances particularly those she caused. She supposedly liked Lucy Belle and gave her food when she was ill. From what I understood, these people did NOT disbelieve the story.

I don’t know if the story is true, but I’m happy my son has his footwear; and I have the extra camera and the prized book to read again.

Hearty and Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

By: Chef Wendell Fowler, author of Eat Right, Now: Holy Temple Maintenance Guide

My message is, and always will be, that ‘food is the most powerful medicine on earth’. We are one large carbon-based, bio-chemical factory, which reacts to everything we put into it. Disease occurs when we put foods that are unnatural, or overly processed, into our Holy Temple; like chemically laden convenience foods that chip away at the crispy edges of our health.

If you desire to loose weight, lower your risk of developing lung cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, simply look to food as your solution, by changing your way of looking at food. Pumpkin contains Folate, which you may know about as a B-vitamin needed to prevent birth defects and also helps to lower levels of homocysteine, an indicator of heart disease. Plus, our orange friend is also brimming with magnesium, tryptophan, iron, zinc, fiber, and a little bit of protein. Everything our body needs to prosper.

Corn helps maintain your fading memory with Thiamin (Vitamin B1) and is jam-packed with fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese. The sweet potato in this dish provides valuable Beta Carotene, which aids in warding off cancer. What’s not to like? Your loving family deserves the best.

Corn and Pumpkin Chowder

Serves 6


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup well-scrubbed sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pumpkin puree

2 drops of liquid smoke
1 cup corn, frozen or cut from the cob
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried sage
1/2 cup soy, rice milk, or organic milk
salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and sweet potato; Sautee, stirring to coat the vegetables with the olive oil, until onion is translucent, just a few minutes.

2. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, 30 minutes, until sweet potato is tender.

3. Add pumpkin puree, corn, and herbs. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat again and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in soymilk or organic milk and remove soup from the heat.

4. Puree half the soup in a blender and return it to the pot, stirring well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stew In a Pumpkin Shell

Heart Food

1 large pumpkin
Sucanat, honey, real maple syrup, or stevia
2 large onions, chopped
Olive oil
3 pounds fake meat (Seitan / wheat meat, or ground up soy crumbles)
1 pound tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 1/2 pints veggie stock
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 pounds raw pumpkin, cut in chunks (as best you can)
2 cans sweet corn
12 canned or fresh, yellow peach halves, sliced, saving the peach juice on the side
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper

To prepare the pumpkin, cut the top to form a lid, angle cutting so the lid will sit on and not fall in. Leave the stem for a handle.

Remove the "guts", the fibers and seeds and discard.

Scoop away most of the solid flesh, leaving a sturdy wall of pumpkin, being careful not to cut through it. Measure out 2 pounds of the raw pumpkin flesh for the stew and cube it the best you can. Replace the lid and set the pumpkin on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 long enough for the inside to get soft enough to scoop but will still hold up the weight of the stew. Remove from oven with an oven mitt.

Cook the onion, garlic and fake meat in a little oil until soft but not browned in a sauté pan. Transfer to a large saucepan. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, the stock, a little sea salt and plenty of pepper to the ‘meat’ and onions. Cover and simmer until the ‘meat’ is heated.

Add the remaining ingredients, sweet and white potatoes, corn, cubed, pumpkin and peaches to the saucepan and cover with more stock. Return to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, and the liquid is thickened from the pumpkin scooped off inside gently with a spoon.

Add stew to pumpkin shell and stow it in the oven at 140 degrees for 15 minutes or longer if the walls are thick. Be careful not to collapse the walls. You can use a large casserole dish as a support for the walls.

Taste, correct the seasoning and add a little of the peach juice. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and ladle the stew into your set of soup bowls you’ve been trying to use for something. You could use baby pumpkins, but you’d have to cook them first a bit. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

For more information about Chef Wendell Fowler and his recipes, visit

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic

*Low Income Tax Clinic*

Submitted by: Patricia McKinney

Did you know that the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic can help if you have a problem with the IRS?

Are you being examined? Does the IRS think you owe more in taxes than you believe you owe? Have you been denied EITC or other credits? Do you have an IRS Lien on your property? Are your wages or other income being levied by the IRS? We can help.

There are statutes with time limits that affect your ability to claim refunds or the EITC, along with statutes that affect the IRS’s ability to be able collect back taxes from you. Learn about your rights and options.

For your convenience, we have various intake sites located throughout the Indianapolis area. Come to our Low income Tax Clinic intakes and speak to an attorney. It may just make you sleep easier at night.

(317) 429-4131

Please call for intake times and places.


By: D. DelReverda-Jennings

FLAVA FRESH VI ! @ CLOWES: Opening August 3, 2009. Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, 4602 Sunset Ave. The Second of three diverse showcases of the Sixth Annual, juried Multi-Art Exhibitions Presentation of contemporary art featuring local, regional, national and international artists. The work is an eclectic mix of media which includes: Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Textile/Fiber, Found Object, Mixed-Media, Assemblage and Digital Image Manipulation. Created * Curated by Indianapolis based Interdisciplinary artist, Independent Curator, D. DelReverda-Jennings.

Participating Artists: Nannette Y. Blair / Jeana M. L. Ouattara / Carl Hazelwood / Stephanie Hall / Anthony Radford / Heath A. Holland / Judie L. Sloan / Jerome Webster Chambers / Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither / Roderic Trabue / Marie A. House / Jerome Neal / Dana Rae Roudebush / Phillip Chestnut / Cherif Abib Ba / Kim Harwell-Ba / Tasha Vaden-Beckwith / Ibou Ibrahima Ndoye / Nicole D. Johnson Powell / Kevin James Wilson / Quay Kester / D. DelReverda-Jennings. Sponsored By: Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University / URBANE D'ART Inc.

Artists Reception and Gallery Walk & Talk: Saturday, September 20, 2009 from 5 - 7:30pm. Regular Viewing Hours: Mon-Fri. 8:30am - 5:00pm. The exhibition runs through September 28, 2009. Free and Open to the Public. INFO: 317-940-9697, , .

INDIANA ARTISAN: Is the statewide economic development program designed to help artisans expand their businesses while developing a brand based on quality Indiana-made art and foods. The program now involves the work of 111 juried artisans representing 41 Indiana counties. Indiana Artisans benefit from the collaborative spirit of the program through special initiatives available only to those who work juries into the program including entrepreneurial support and technical assistance. The next jury panels meet in October. Guidelines and the online application will be posted at in August. INFO: Eric Freeman, ,

GOVERNOR'S ARTS AWARDS: Governor Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) have announced the recipients of the 2009 Governor's Arts Awards. "I am honored to recognize these recipients for the significant investment and contribution each has made to the arts in their communities, our state and beyond," said Governor Daniels. The 2009 recipients of the Indiana Governor's Arts Awards are: Angela Brown, Indianapolis. Miss Brown’s 2004 Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of Aida garnered instant attention from national and international print and broadcast media and catapulted her on to the world’s prestigious opera and symphonic stages. This award-winning performing and recording artist is also a trail blazer on a mission to bring operatic and classical vocal performance to the masses through her unique recital program, “Opera from a Sistah’s Point of View.” / Ball Brothers Foundation/George and Frances Ball Foundation, Muncie./ International Violin Competition of Indianapolis./ Sweetwater Sound, Inc., Fort Wayne./ Vectren Corporation, Evansville./ "These recipients have demonstrated a commitment to their field, their communities, and to building a stronger Indiana by their investment of time, talent and leadership in the arts," said Lewis C. Ricci, IAC Executive Director. The five recipients will be honored during a special performance ceremony September 25, 2009 at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts in Muncie. INFO:

CALL TO POETS: International: InDeArts announces a call for poets worldwide to submit up to three of their unpublished pieces that are three lines in length to be considered for publication online at with possible inclusion in a hard-copy format as well. InDeArts is particularly interested in poems that stretch the limits of the written word in an unconventional approach in three lines only. Poets are asked to send their poems in the body of an email (no attachments) along with a one line biographical sketch. No Fee. No Deadline. INFO:

ARTIST VENDORS SOUGHT: Acton United Methodist Church (AUMC) cordially invites you to participate in our 12th Craft Fair on Saturday, November 7th , 2009 from 9 A. M. – 3 P. M. This event has grown and has proven to be a success for many artisans. AUMC is located just north of I-74 East and the Acton Road interchange in southeast Marion County – a prime location with easy access and plentiful parking. Potential customers will be reached through broad advertisement and repeated programming. Rental of an 8X10 booth is $40 with maximum of two crafters per booth. Booth space is limited and goes quickly so reserve yours today! Reservation Deadline: October 10th.


Comments, Questions or INFO: E:Mail:

Local Music

By: Ryan Williams

Radio Radio brings in some big names throughout September and October, including the return of rockabilly vampire Unknown Hinson on September 19th, English rockers New Model Army on September 28th, and En Esch (formerly of Pigface and KMFDM) and Slick Idiot on October 4th. Local favorites Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes host a CD release party on September 26th, and Born Again Floozies return October 17th. Other shows of note include F.U.Z.Z. on September 11th, The Dynamites with Soulove Universe on September 24th, and the Rosewood Thieves with The Dead Trees on September 27th. From industrial rock to rockabilly, from soul to indie, this lineup has it covered. Ticket prices and show times are available at

The Vollrath Tavern hosts an eclectic collection of indie rock in September, including Sleeping in The Aviary, Amo Joy, Icarus Himself, and Grandpal Jookabox on September 5th, The Dockers and Applecore on September 24th (good for fans of loud punk music) and Chicago rocker Detholz! on September 25th. Shows are being added all the time, so check out for more information.

Big Car Gallery brings together musicians from Tonos Triad, Shiny Black Shirt and Mana2 to create a spontaneous, live soundtrack to the classic silent film version of "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" on October 28th. It's a free show, just in time for Halloween. Find out more at

You can always find great acoustic music at Deano's Vino every weekend, and Maria's Pizza features jazz on Friday and Saturday nights. Finally, don't forget swing nights at the Fountain Square Theater every second and fourth Friday nights.

Public Art Activist calls it a “Job Well Done”

By: Jeff Miller

The Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND) organization has had the goal to “Identify and establish sites for public art and to maximize the benefit of the community’s existing non-park public space” for many years. But like any goal, getting it accomplished takes dedicated people with a passion to see it happen. Susan Beauchamp fits that description perfectly. She has been part of the SEND Public Space Committee, and specifically served as the chairperson of the Public Art sub-committee, for over seven years. And so much has happened during that time.

One of the most visual things that Susan’s sub-committee accomplished is of course working with the city to create the beautiful gateway structure that sits on Virginia Ave. Other achievements of the sub-committee include adding several new murals (along with the establishment of suggested guidelines for all temporary art), promoting artwork, such as the horse that proudly stood on display on the Bates-Hendricks esplanade, putting on two Art Parades through Fountain Square and Fletcher Place, and the formation of the Fountain Square Arts Council (FSAC). Additionally, the sub-committee has helped identify locations for future pieces of artwork, applied for grants for art, established a great relationship with the Cultural Trail team (particularly Mindy Taylor Ross who is in charge of public art along the trail) and inspired so many others with a passion for all things art.

It was the formation of the FSAC that finally led Susan to feel it was time to say “Mission Accomplished” and step down in her role as head of the Public Art sub-committee. With all the great work that the FSAC has done and will continue to do, Susan sees an opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy all of the art she has helped create in the area. Now, being a very humble spirit, Susan would quickly say that it wasn’t her that did these things, but a team of individuals who all worked together to make it happen. And while she would of course be correct, none could question that Susan was the heart and soul for years who had the passion to see these things come to fruition. And for this, we say “Thanks, Susan!” The area is a much more culturally rich place because of all you have done. And for that, we are very grateful.

New Southeast Grocery Moving Toward Fruition

By: Susan Beauchamp

Does Southeast Indianapolis need more options to buy healthy food that are accessible for all residents? A group of residents and other people from a faith-based study circle believe the area has the need and they are acting on their thoughts. This group began meeting in 2008 and developed the idea of a food Co-op or a resident owned grocery store. They believe that the current food purchasing options are limited, sometimes too expensive, and need more access for walkers or others who rely on public transportation. Their idea has progressed into Pleasant Run Grocery: a community owned grocery store. Their mission statement is: Pleasant Run Grocery is a member owned, community based grocery store dedicated to serving the need of local producers and consumers by providing goods and services, education and reasonably priced healthy foods.

Currently the Pleasant Run Grocery Committee is developing a business plan to obtain funding. They are also looking for a central location, which is well lighted, has enough parking and is on public transportation routes. The Co-op would like to offer the opportunity for residents to buy bulk food, which can be less expensive. Additionally, they would like to offer food education and possible cooking lessons for residents to promote healthy food options with basic ingredients, rather than more expensive processed food. With fresh produce in season, the Grocery hopes to attract others from downtown and around the city to also shop in this neighborhood.

Part of the original funding for Pleasant Run Grocery would come from memberships, although anyone will be able to shop in the store. Membership would give partial ownership. Food stamps will also be accepted. For more information about Pleasant Run Grocery, contact Jerry Keyes at

The Farmers Market at Southeast Community Services Center provides an additional option for food shopping in the area. Meeting on Saturdays, July 4, August 1, Sept. 5, and October 3, it is from 9 AM to noon, at 901 Shelby Street. Start up money was obtained by an IMAGINE grant through INRC. The SECS summer program youth are assisting with the market by helping set up and making items for sale. Look for fresh produce, crafts, herbs & plants, jewelry, and photography. It is free to look around. Vendors are welcome at $10 per space. For information, contact Terri Garcia at 283-8748 or Kate Voss at 607-3235.

Please take time to fill out the survey about food shopping that was enclosed in the last issue of the South East Square News, or fill one out at SEND, to assist in the planning for the Pleasant Run Grocery. The Southeast Learning Partnership, SELP, which documents and collects data for the Southeast Neighborhoods, administers this survey. The SELP meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at SECS at 901 Shelby St. at 5 PM. Anyone who has an interest in SE Indy is welcome to attend. Childcare and dinner are provided. For more information, contact Chairperson Marti LaMar at

Roll Out the Barrel

By: Richard Campi

Roll out the barrel and make use of such for much! Susan Beauchamp and I use two, sixty-gallon (Plastic) ZEP containers to water the thirty-six planters on the median strip down Calvary Street from Fletcher Ave. to over the Interstate 65/70 bridges. I load these on their side in my 1950 Chevrolet pick-up truck with five, 5-gallon jugs and fill them at my house. This is a gravity-fed system with water taps and four small plastic buckets. We dispense about 130 gallons of water by filling the buckets and pouring it onto the plants and trees. We always hope for regular rain and not to need this chore!

We have been maintaining this and other landscaping projects over the past dozen years and hope to for some years to come. Grants to develop these public landscapes ask for a commitment to maintain the projects with respect and follow-through for years to come, but many projects fall out of favor and are abandoned after a few years. Friends of Historic Fountain Square Neighborhood Association has kept its commitment to these projects and were the first in Southeast Indy to have landscape projects.

Susan and I are also rolling out the barrel at our home as well. We are developing three rain barrels, one of which I’ve just completed (Hope for rain!) and two are in progress. These should each hold 60 gallons of rainwater for our home garden use. Ken Williams, who was incidentally Fountain Square’s first Santa, gave me all five barrels.

To help with the interesting and difficult job of making the rain barrels, I used Suding Hardware Store. While I was trying to explain the rain barrel idea, a plumber who was patron talked with us. He gladly drove back to my residence to help size up the project. When I went back to the store, he and the proprietor then had a more complete picture of what I wanted. I was then very personally helped with securing all needed pipe, elbow, clamps, etc. to the exact need of each rain barrel and its location. Like many home projects, this one seemed simple until I began obtaining and assembling all the extra parts beyond the barrel.

In order to install the rain barrel, the existing downspouts on the house have to be sawed off, but I want to put them back in November for winter. A plastic (rubber-like) boot clamping section is secured to the remaining downspout, a plastic elbow is clamped into that, and then a section of plastic pipe is secured into another plastic elbow that empties in the top of the rain barrel. My rain barrel tops have been cut off so that they fit back on with a hole cut out in center of top to accommodate the plastic elbow. Just an inch or so above the bottom of the barrel, I drilled a hole to insert a water faucet (threaded at both ends). A water bucket or a hose may be employed to catch the water from the faucet. A threaded short pipe screwed into the rear of the faucet and a large nut screwed onto that snug it up to the interior wall of the barrel. I needed to cut out some plastic foam to make a gasket to keep the faucet tight. If and when the barrels overflow, the loose lids will let excess water escape.

For people who desire to take a project such as this on, one needs to make sure that the barrels are far enough away from the home’s foundation as to not cause any basement problems. That distance determines the estimated length of pipe from elbow to elbow. I have my barrels mounted upon four concrete blocks. Two are regular size and two are shorter. I’ve leveled the ground surface first. I have raised the spigot about eighteen inches above the ground, so that a can or bucket fits under it. Every now and then I will need to rinse the sediment from the interior.

Remember that this isn’t a rush job. Do a small step at a time or get it wrong. I’ve put this “green” direction off for a least a couple of months. So…go with the flow! (But after all this work, I’m worried that it will never rain again!)

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry Marks One Year Anniversary with Expansion and New Pre-K

By: Kathy Moore

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry, located at 1224 Laurel Street in the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis, marked its one year anniversary on August 10th for its childcare that opened in August 2008. This event was marked by doubling in size the area dedicated to child care at Emmaus Lutheran Church. This expansion includes a new infant room and new space for 3, 4, and 5 year olds, which now includes Pre-K for 3 and 4 year olds as part of its offering.

The childcare ministry is available to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years of age and offers such amenities as a strong academic curriculum, before and after school programs, full day care, summer camps and field trips. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In the past year the IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry has sponsored for the near south side community a Halloween party, Christmas with Santa (with over 500 attendees), and an Easter Egg Hunt. Plans are in place to continue with the outreach to the community and to repeat these events.

Based on a loving, Christian environment, In God’s Arms Childcare Ministry provides year-round care by a well-qualified and dedicated staff. The ministry is registered with the Indiana State Division of Family Resources and the Indiana State Fire Marshall and accepts CCDF vouchers.

“We are offering much more than child care,” says Kathy Moore, director of In God’s Arms. “In addition to what everyone would expect in a childcare program, we are providing a safe, secure Christian environment. Our goal is to reach out to this community by providing a needed service—childcare—in a loving, Christian manner.”

“We would like to invite parents in our community to stop by and take a free tour of a facility and meet our staff. We would like all parents of potential enrollees to know that we offer quality Christian childcare 52 weeks a year.”

Historic Emmaus Lutheran Church has been in existence for more than 105 years. In addition to the childcare ministry, Emmaus also offers an elementary school with a Christian curriculum for grades K-6.

For more information, call 317-632-1486 option #3 or check our web site at

We’ll Always Have Next Year

By: Irvin Etienne

Crap! Where did summer go? In August I was still planting annuals. Not ideal, but much better than the year I really didn’t start until Labor Day. This year I was just finishing things. At least for the most part it was stuff I had propagated or seedlings I had collected. Admittedly, it would have been the perfect year to finish early (or heaven forbid timely) so as to enjoy the ridiculously cool weather. Well life ain’t perfect, is it Gladys? So I did the best I could considering at the minimum I quadrupled the back garden. Next year there will be fewer weeds and that will make things go smoother. With gardening there is always next year.

But what about this year? I tried several new Echinacea cultivars -- seven, to be exact, between work and home. I can recommend all of them to you. ‘Tomato Soup’ is a great red (very much like tomato soup), ‘Mac n Cheese’ is cheesy gold, and ‘Tiki Torch’ is hot orange. All these come via Terra Nova Nursery and I’m glad to have each in the garden. The colors are equal to the pictures in the catalogue, very rare in the plant world. I had four white cultivars at work, all a gift from Plants Nouveau. ‘Avalanche’ is a dwarf white around two feet tall. ‘Champagne Bubbles’ is a large single white whose cone is champagne colored. It’s a nice big plant and flower. The dwarfest one was ‘Meringue’, fully double and only a foot or so high. My favorite was by far ‘Milkshake’, a tall, normal sized coneflower with large double flowers. The cones remain white as they age, very rare in Echinacea. It is a great cutflower too. I fully intend to trial more from these companies next year, say some double red, double orange, and double gold? I’m not saying every new coneflower is going to be great but I have seen some very good ones.

It was a great lily year, the flowers lasted forever. The big award goes to ‘Yelloween’. This beauty is soft yellow and fragrant. My largest plant was eight feet tall. Of course, the deep orange of the 3-4 foot tall ‘Brunello’ was gorgeous too. He’s so beautiful he doesn’t need fragrance. Darkest red ‘Blackout’ was a stunner too that is propagating itself nicely, increasing the number of bulbs and flowers yearly. I was a little disappointed in my ‘African Queen’ only because half the bulbs flowered white instead of the amber color I wanted. But it did look like all bulbs bloomed so I can’t complain a whole lot. Plus I bought them at half price last year.

Among my favorite annuals this year were two cultivars of black-eyed Susan vine, Thunbergia alata. These were ‘Sunny Lemon Star’ and ‘Sunny Orange Wonder’. Both had incredible vigor and flower power in wonderful bright yellow (not gold) and deep true orange. I have grown this species from seed and these cutting propagated plants are much better performers. Other vegetative cultivars I’ve tried never did as well as these. Either the plants have improved or my gardening skills have really improved.

It’s hard to believe the time to bring plants back indoors is nearly at hand. I always dread it. Just one more week, Mother Nature. Just one more week. But that isn’t the way of the Midwest garden so I will try to save too many and will kill too many in the end. But there’s next year. There’s always next year.

Aramark Employee Volunteers Refurbish Southeast Community Services, Inc.

By: Kate Voss

Southeast Community Services, Inc. (SECS), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing self-sufficiency for hundreds of low-income residents, received a much-deserved facelift from hard-working volunteers at ARAMARK, the global professional services company. This event jump starts a new partnership with SECS and is part of ARAMARK Building Community, a company-wide initiative that fosters long-term support for local community centers in more than 25 cities.

On Wednesday, August 12, SECS received a substantial transformation, including the creation of a food pantry that will be supplied with food items collected by ARAMARK volunteers. Other projects included: painting a variety of murals for rooms throughout the facility, construction of storage units, shelves and benches, and landscaping the outside area with new flower beds.

“Southeast Community Services has directly felt the burn of the recession—with the greatest challenge being the demand for services,” said Terri Garcia, executive director of SECS. “This partnership really could not have come at a better time. The center provides services free-of-charge to our residents, funded through community donations. ARAMARK will add much-needed services to the center that would not have happened without their generosity and support.”

Through ARAMARK Building Community, employees use their expertise to help youth and adults develop critical, employable work skills and connect them to career opportunities; support families with nutrition and wellness education and provide basic needs, such as food and clothing, during health/wellness and career fairs.

Community centers – including Southeast Community Services, Inc.– are on the front lines in addressing some of our nation’s most pressing social issues, including poverty, education, joblessness, obesity, youth development and caring for aging seniors.

By focusing on making improvements to the facilities, building infrastructure and off-setting costs, Indianapolis ARAMARK volunteers will enable the Center to better meet their important social missions.

Southeast Community Services, Inc. is located at 901 South Shelby St., Indianapolis, IN. 46203. For more information call 317-236-7400

1st Annual Art of July Parade

By: Kelli Safford

Fountain Square Arts Council (FSAC) moved ahead with the 1st annual Art of July Parade on July 4th despite the weather. Of the 50 registered entries for the parade, over half showed up to show their support for the event. Groups such as the Libertarian party, Friends of Fact and Herron School of Art and Design students were in full parade attire to march on even with rain falling throughout the day.

The parade commenced promptly at 6 pm and continued on the mile route through Fountain Square and Fletcher Place. Residents of the community stepped out with umbrellas and rain gear to watch the parade. Former Fountain Square resident Katie Burk, in town visiting from Hawaii, was on hand to volunteer for the event and was surprised at the turnout with the rain. “FSAC has done a tremendous job in planning this event and it feels great to be here and see it transpire.”

FSAC spent the last year planning the event from gathering funding to creating marketing plans to focusing on public relations initiatives. The groups volunteered many hours and, regardless of the weather, were pleased with the results of their efforts. Elizabeth Ryan, founding member of the FSAC, stated, “Even though the weather was not what we hoped for, we still had around 200 people show up to participate. FSAC views our first year a success and looks forward to next year!” A first year in an event can paint a pretty clear picture of the future and the entire community will look forward to seeing what next year will bring for the 2nd Annual Art of July parade.

Questions? Interested in learning more? Please email

The New Fountain Square Academy

Only Area High School to Make Federal Guidelines in 2009

By: Mark Stewart

Over the summer, Fountain Square Academy, located at 1615 S. Barth Avenue, has done a complete makeover of classrooms with walls being painted, installation of new classrooms, and the addition of new desks, chairs and lockers for students.

“The school is so inviting now,” said Ms. Foster. “It feels like a new school inside.”

The school which occupies the historic former Leedy Drum Factory, is the neighborhood’s only public high school to make the federal guidelines in academic achievement standards this year. The tuition-free public school, which was invited to open in the neighborhood by the Southeast Neighborhood Development Corp. (SEND) in 2005, provides a middle and high school, serving grades 5-12. It pays complete tuition, books and fees for Ivy Tech college classes for its qualified students. The school also pays for textbooks and provides transportation and a breakfast and lunch program.

“We are excited about the academic achievement of our students at the school this past year and we are even more excited about the future,” said Keena Foster, principal of the school. “Last year, our students outperformed 73 percent of the country in the amount of material they learned over the school year. That puts our school in the top 27th percentile in the country.”

“When SEND conducted a study of the most important issues facing our neighborhood, the community said ‘improved educational opportunities.’ We are pleased to have Fountain Square Academy in our neighborhood. Their small class size and focus on college preparation are vital to improving our community,” said Mark Stewart, President of SEND.

“While tutoring and remediation is available as it is in all other public schools, college is an expectation for all of our students at Fountain Square Academy,” said Ms. Foster. “Students have the potential of earning up to 60 college credits, or two years of college, while they attend high school.” That translates into a $6,000 savings and provides motivated students a jump-start on going to a 4-year university and/or earning their license for a vocational career.

Discipline at the school is tight and the school expects students to follow dress code. Class sizes are kept small to encourage a more intimate learning atmosphere. A new partnership with Garfield Park provides students the opportunity to participate on a school basketball team and enjoy other sports. The school will begin its application to be part of the Indiana High School Athletic Association this year and will offer various after school sports programs.

Enrollment is open now. School starts August 17. A few spaces still remain open. Enrollment packages are available at the school or online at Call 951-1000 to learn more about the school.