Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Indy Reads has Record Year in 2009

(Indianapolis, IN) – In 2007, the first year that Indy Reads operated as an independent non-profit, the adult literacy organization provided free tutoring to 351 adults in Marion County. Now, just two years later, Indy Reads has more than DOUBLED their services.
“We’ve worked with 725 literacy and ESL students this year,” said Indy Reads Director of Programs, Tom Miller, “plus there are another 125 who used our Literacy Labs.”
“This is extraordinary: 850 adults! We’ve helped more adults to read in Indianapolis than ever before in our 25 year history!” said Executive Director Travis DiNicola. Indy Reads began as a volunteer based organization and received not-for-profit status in 1984 and was a program of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library until the end of 2006 when the organization became independent. “IMCPL remains our greatest partner in providing literacy services,” said DiNicola, “but by being independent, we are able to reach more adults in more communities than ever before. We could not have done this without the very generous help of all of our community partners and dedicated volunteers. Our newest program, providing Literacy Labs in neighborhood centers, jails, and IPS schools, helps us to reach even more adults who struggle with reading.”
The Literacy Lab program provides short-term services for clients, while also giving those clients access to long-term instruction. The Literacy Labs are located where the adult students live and work: in their neighborhoods, providing them the immediate help they need. Free labs are open at designated times, during which “Reading Coaches” volunteer to help adults with “tactical” or task-based reading, writing, and life-skill issues—such as applying for a job, reading a prescription, understanding their bills, and responding to letters from a landlord—as well as providing basic literacy tutoring, and assistance with preparing to take the GED.
Current Literacy Lab locations include: IPS’s John Hope Education Center, the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, the John H. Boner Community Center, Horizon House, LYN House, and Jail II, all in the IPS district, plus a lab at Northview Middle School in Washington Township. The next lab planned is for IPS #14 on Market Street.
Indy Reads 2009 student profile (does not include Literacy Labs):
Ages 18-99, average age being early 40’s
46% African-American, 21% Caucasian, 15% Hispanic, 6% Asian
55% women, 45% men
Average entry reading level – 3rd grade (grade level necessary to read a newspaper – 6th)
50% adult literacy students, 50% ESL students
45% of adult literacy students live in the IPS district
59% meet with their volunteer tutor in urban IMCPL branches serving IPS (more than one third of volunteers live in IPS).

“It’s great to see that we are providing services beyond Marion County now – that was something we could never do before we were independent,” said DiNicola. “The past three years have been inspiring. I’m especially pleased by a new partnership with Washington Township’s Adult Ed program, the Boone County Learning Network, where we train their volunteers, and by our ongoing partnership with IndyPendence JobCorps, providing tutoring to their young women. However, it is important to note that the largest numbers of Indy Reads students live within the IPS boundaries and are served by the IMCPL. This continues to be where the need is greatest. And, though we are helping more adults than ever before, there is a waiting list for our services. Our greatest need for 2010 continues to be more volunteers, and the funds to train them. People ask – why help adults – well, the answer is clear: you are helping to break the cycle. Almost all of our students are parents, and the number one reason a child won’t graduate from high school is if his mother can’t read. Improving adult literacy improves the quality of life for everyone in our community.”

Indy Reads is the only nationally accredited organization in Central Indiana which uses trained volunteers to provide free basic reading, writing, and life-skill instruction to adults through one-on-one tutoring, small group sessions, English as a Second Language instruction, and a Literacy Lab program at neighborhood centers. Indy Reads mission is to improve the literacy skills of adults in Central Indiana who read or write at or below the sixth grade level. Our goal is to “Make Indianapolis 100% Literate.” Visit www.indyreads.org for more information.

Scare in the Square, Rocky Horror Halloween a howling success

The Fountain Square Merchants Association (FSMA) showed the neighborhood a frightfully good time with Scare in the Square on Halloween. More than 600 costumed trick-or-treaters, their families, and friends walked to 25 neighborhood businesses for candy and other goodies. Twenty two businesses sponsored the event by giving additional candy or money to the Merchants Association. FWSMA established Scare-in-the-Square-central in the Deano’s Vino parking lot. The Association gave away hundreds of treat bags, and hundreds of pounds of candy, peanuts, and apples, and poured out 20 gallons of cider for thirsty walkers.

Participating merchants included:

• Deano’s Vino
• IMPD South
• Liberty Tax
• Subway
• Buds Supermarket
• Salvation Army
• Fountain Square Bldg
• Virgil’s Barbershop
• Santorini Greek Kitchen
• IFD Station #3
• Fountain Foliage
• Hero House
• Maria’s Pizza
• Arthur’s Music
• Fountain Square Branch, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
• Indianapolis Downtown Antiques
• Luxor
• American Hardware
• Peppy Grill
• Siam Square
• Sam’s Silver Circle
• Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company
• The Dugout
• Naisa Pan-Asian CafĂ©
• Indy Swank

2009 Treat Trail Sponsors:
• The Fountain Square Merchants Association
• Cops for Kids, Indiana State Police Alliance
• Green 3 Landscape Design
• Mike McCormick, CPA,
• Southeast Neighborhood Development
• Koehring & Sons
• Halstead Architects
• Mass Avenue Knit Shop
• Impact Group
• Biz on Fletcher
• Southeast Community Services
• Center for Environmental Management
• Claus German Sausage & Meats
• AV Framing Gallery
• Big Car
• National Alliance for Child Safety
• Daskalos Chiropractor
• Flowers on the Square
• Fountain Foliage
• The Brass Ring
• Fountain Square Theatre
• IndyES Productions

Scare in the Square was followed by Rocky Horror Halloween at the Fountain Square Theatre. Some 300 people came – some in costume – to watch two showings (one at eight, and one at midnight) of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was the first time for this FSMA event, which netted more than $1,000.

Neighbor Power! and GINI Two Successes for Our City

More than 200 neighborhood leaders recently met to celebrate community accomplishments and ensure future success for the city at Neighbor Power! A Gathering to Inspire Greater Indy Neighborhoods at the University of Indianapolis.

The Southeast neighborhoods were well represented at Neighbor Power! — picking up multiple awards at an exciting ceremony on Oct. 16 and sending several leaders to present in workshops during the gathering on Oct. 17.

The Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association won Neighbor Power’s new Inspiring Places Award or its no House Left Behind initiative identifies the worst abandoned homes and helps turn these properties into assets—making this neighborhood in the southeast side of Indianapolis an even better home for its residents. The award came with a $1,000 prize and a one-of-a-kind physical award created by SEND’s Kipp Normand.

Bates Hendricks and SEND also won a Collaborative Spirit Award presented by Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center for the 2008 Fab For Less project designed to enhance the 1400 and 1500 blocks of South New Jersey Street. This initiative engaged residents in visioning, planning and implementing a transformation of their two blocks and eventually leveraged more than a million dollars of investment.

A host of neighborhood leaders — many representing the Southeast — led workshops on a wide variety of topics, sharing their successes and finding connections with other leaders for future collaborations. Workshops covered topics from economic development innovations, to green development, to helping young people. One workshop even ended in a parade around the facility. Workshop leaders from the Southeast included Despi Mayes of the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association, Jeff Miller of Fletcher Place, Connie Zeigler of the North Square Neighborhood Association, Jerry Keys of the Pleasant Run Grocer, Elizabeth Ryan of the Fountain Square Arts Council, and Mark Stewart and Paul Baumgarten of SEND.

All in attendance enjoyed a moving keynote talk by Sacramento, Cal. mayor and former NBA standout Kevin Johnson. And Neighbor Power! included a session to brainstorm “what’s next” for neighborhoods and the city and concluded with a networking reception.

Now, everyone is invited to continue the conversations started at Neighbor Power! and sign-up for peer-to-peer networks on a variety of topics at www.greatyindyneighborhoods.org. If you missed it, videos of all of the workshop presentations will be available online in the coming months.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Children's Nutrition Begins with Parental Education

Precious little one’s dietary needs are the same as they were 20 years ago; however, the food they eat is not. Today’s foods aren't even kissing health on the cheek. I submit, ‘Lunchables’. Alluringly marketed, this Anti-Christ of nourishment is laden with an un-Godly amount of salt, HFCS, synthesized fats, food colorings, nitrates and immune-depleting sugar.

Kids need 40 heavenly vitamins a day to grow mentally and physically. They require a variety of fresh, chemically-free food in its natural, cosmic wrapping. Today’s foods are nutritionally D.O.A.; devoid of their cosmic life force due to reckless industrial modification and ethical malnourishment..

Small adults require freshly prepared, pure whole foods primed with love; the key ingredient. Vulnerable bodies require quality materials, not holiday sugary treats, to grow big and strong with alert minds eager to absorb knowledge. Find time for preparing wholesome, balanced lunches, or find time for illness. Sugar profoundly depletes immune function.

It’s time for devoted parents to update their nutritional literacy. Time-strapped Mom’s and Dads’ lament the daily hassle of preparing healthy lunches. One child told me her parents gave her a Pop Tart and a can of Mountain Dew, kissed them goodbye, hastening them to the bus stop. The quandary? The Indiana State Board of Health warns, due to malnourishment, parents today will outlive their children. Before packing those recyclable brown bags with convenient, dead foods, caringly consider your choices. Are they based on personal convenience or your brood’s primary requirements?

The CDC states 1 in 200 rosy-cheeked kids under 18 are avoiding meat and embracing the earth-friendly vegetarian diet. Thanks to YouTube, animal slaughter videos have shocked the developing sensibilities of U.S. children. Kids raised vegetarian lower their risk of ‘Diabesity’, cancer, GI problems, and have steadfast immune systems. At the lease, cut back and make one home-dinner a week vegetarian night. The average family spends $4-5 K annually factory-farm produced meat.
Dust off the thermos for hearty vegetable and bean soups. Make a garden salad or whole grain pasta salad with vegetables mixed, walnuts and last night’s chicken breast. Pack a low-cal dressing separate and let them add it in.

Its critical children obtain adequate amounts of clean, locally produced protein, vitamins B 12 and D-3, iron, zinc, calcium and other nutrients most people get from meat, eggs and dairy. If they are uber-picky, provide youngsters with a food-based multi-vitamin-mineral supplement.

Your kids truly love you. Love them back responsibly with ‘good for you’ green eating behaviors.

Eat Right Now
Chef Wendell Fowler
Please visit: www.chefwendell.com


Written by: Allen Janke

Even more is happening in the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood! Thanks to an IMAGINE grant through the city, this time the focus of neighborhood community leaders and volunteers was a section of the southeast quadrant. Specifically included this time was the area South of Iowa St., North of Beecher, and East of East St., West of Pleasant Run Parkway. This neighborhood has experienced a resurgence of involvement thanks to emerging neighborhood leaders and the strong overall planning of the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association and SEND.

The weekend of October 17th and 18th was a huge success thanks to the volunteer efforts of Bates Hendricks southeast quadrant neighbors, churches, and businesses. Heading up the planning of the nearly month long community event were the members of the New Street Block Club, formed in early 2007. A five 40 cubic yard dumpster event was designed by these members as the main component of an IMAGINE grant.

Creation of a successful IMAGINE grant project is all in the details leading up to the work. Word was spread for two of the four weekends leading up to the main beautification/clean up events. Flyers were distributed and banners were displayed to welcome neighbors to the big event weekend. On October 9 and 10, a large group led by the New Street Block Club cut out excess alley brush and readied trash for the dumpster day. Over five tons of street curb debris was removed to restore the look and functionality of our streets!

Even more impressive than the cleanup was the after party turnout after! Sunday October 18 the 1800 block of New Street was shut down to host the first ever New Street Block Party. The over 200 in attendance enjoyed carnival games, a bounce house, free cookout, and pumpkin painting—just some of the activities of the day. A raffle designed to reward those who had participated in the cleanup was held and gift cards were distributed to the winners.

While we were able to make a big impact in a fairly short time span, much of the real success was meeting many of our great neighbors. Continue to build on this effort, whether you live in the Bates Hendricks Neighborhood or not! Reach out and talk to the couple down the street who’s lived there almost as long as you have. Take a moment and say “hello” to those you may see but to whom you never talk. Get to know your neighbors and start a block club of your own. You’ll find a whole bunch of people who care as much as you do.


A special thanks goes out to our two church affiliates on Iowa Street, Wesleyan Christian Church and Eastside Tree of Life Full Gospel Church, and Heat Exchanger Design, Inc. on Beecher Street. Also thanks to Foster Pilcher and Rob Uppencamp (VP of Bates Hendricks NA) for spearheading the IMAGINE grant momentum and playing a vital role in each cleanup. And of course to all the members of the New Street Block Club—Keep up the good work!

Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. Honored at 2009 National Keep America Beautiful Conference

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 7, 2009) – Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. was honored Friday at this year’s annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference for distinguishing itself as an exemplary affiliate organization. Taking first place in its category, the organization was honored for its outstanding community beautification program.

The 56th Annual Keep America Beautiful National Conference, held in Washington, D.C., brought together award-winning affiliates from across the country to share best practices and celebrate the successes of the last 12 months. The Keep America Beautiful Affiliate Awards are open to all Keep America Beautiful affiliates for program activities during the 12-month period from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. The honored affiliates encourage individuals to make simple daily choices and to engage in volunteer activities that improve their communities and the local environment.

“It is my privilege to celebrate Southeast Neighborhood Development and its dedication to improving the quality of life in its community while protecting the environment,” said Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. “Communities like Indianapolis serve as influential and inspiring leaders in our national effort to keep America beautiful.”

Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc. took first place in the beautification category for its housing rehabilitation effort in the Bates Hendricks neighborhood. This effort was done in conjunction with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s revitalization of the landscape on the South New Jersey Street medians in the neighborhood. 1,300 visitors from the area came to witness the transformation of South New Jersey Street at an event and home tour in August of 2008. This served as a celebration of the community’s hard work and as a showcase for affordable near-downtown living. Further results included: 30 of the 40 homes on the block were improved; three homes were completely rehabbed; one dilapidated home was removed; private owners invested their own dollars in improving 16 properties; sidewalks and curbs were replaced; the street was repaved; historic lighting was added; the esplanade was landscaped and public art was installed on the street.

About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. This national nonprofit forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For additional information, visit www.kab.org.

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry Reaches out to Fountain Square with 2nd Annual FREE Santa Breakfast

INDIANAPOLIS—IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry, located at 1224 Laurel Street in the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis, hosted its 2nd annual FREE Breakfast with SANTA on Saturday, December 19th. The event drew more than five hundred children and their family members for a morning of fun and excitement.

The aggressive focus that Emmaus Lutheran Church has placed on children and caring for them at all ages, led to the planning of the 2nd Breakfast with Santa Claus. The event is offered entirely FREE for children, and they were not disappointed. Besides a FREE breakfast, there were FREE pictures with SANTA, cookie decorating, crafts and games. The South Marion County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans helped to sponsor the annual event.

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry was founded by historic Emmaus Lutheran Church which has been in existence for more than 105 years. Emmaus is known also known for offering a quality Christian education for elementary school students. The opening of the Christian based childcare ministry in 2008 was a natural progression for the church in its continued outreach to the community.

IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Ministry celebrated its 1st anniversary in August of this year by expanding its facility. 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. The ministry is registered with the Indiana State Division of Family Resources and the Indiana State Fire Marshall and accepts CCDF vouchers.

For more information call 317-632-1486 option #3, and ask for Kathy Moore, IN GOD’S ARMS Childcare Director.

A Stranger in My House: Privacy, Protection and Public Safety

By Tori Calvert

I am a resident of Fountain Square. I am a renter. I am a daughter, sister, and aunt. I am also a law-abiding citizen who values family, community, safety, and privacy. I live with my sister, also a law-abiding citizen, and her one-year old daughter on Leonard Street.

On a recent Friday afternoon, a police officer dressed in street clothing entered my single-family residence without permission (the door was closed but not locked). My sister was home alone, and when she heard some commotion in the house, she walked out of the bathroom to find a male officer in our home and two officers, one female and one male, on our porch. An officer immediately asked her if she knew John Doe (name has been changed). She did not recognize the name and told him so. They curiously looked past her into our home as if to question her truthfulness, then showed her a photo and asked if she knew the person. She did recognize the person, and at this point the officers realized they were in the wrong house (whether or not they had authority to be in any house is unknown since they didn't offer that information) and abruptly turned and left, leaving our front gate open.

It is my understanding that the City of Indianapolis and Marion County officials use tax dollars to employ law enforcement officers who are trained in public safety. I do not have any sense of increased safety, and in fact, I feel much less safe than I did before this incident. I now worry that an officer can enter my home at any time with or without reason, and I am helpless to stop him or her. I feel unsettled knowing that some law enforcement officers patrolling or working in my neighborhood while armed with deadly weapons are not thorough enough to identify which houses they have authority to enter. I feel sad that I am left wondering if IMPD officers are trained to apologize when they've made a mistake that has disrupted the lives of the citizens they have sworn to protect.

This incident has also caused me to question the dynamics of my community. Am I the minority in feeling so violated? Has this happened to other people who had the same feelings of helplessness and were afraid to speak up? Are there characteristics attributable to me and my neighbors that make us susceptible to this behavior?

But I am also hopeful. I have faith that decent residents and police officers in my neighborhood can work together to improve community policing practices. I dream of the day uniformed officers walk by my home and wave to my niece, possibly stopping at my fence to ask about my concerns. And at the very least, I hope to be part of a local government system in which I’m not told that officers were “doing their job” when I retell this story to the Citizens' Police Complaint Office, a system in which police officers do not disrespect the privacy of law-abiding citizens and do apologize when they make mistakes.

Neighborhood Gathering

The Southeast Neighborhood Gathering was held on November 5 beginning at 5:30 pm at the Southeast Community Services Center. About 150 residents joined together for a pasta dinner provided by Aramark. Jennifer VonDeylen gave the opening presentation, “A Lot to Be Thankful For!” Then Jim Mulholland led three groups in a fun Jeopardy Game about Southeast Neighborhood facts and events. The winning group went for dessert first! Terri Garcia of SECS and Mark Stewart of SEND welcomed all to the event. Participants were then invited to give their input about neighborhood involvement and improvement at two successive breakout sessions. The topics were:
  • Housing
  • Community & People
  • Beautification
  • Commercial Viability & Workforce
  • Infrastructure
The information gathered will be distributed to neighborhood organizations and partners early in 2010 and also published in the Southeast Square Newspaper.

This event would not be possible without he countless number of volunteer hours from residents and contributions from the following organizations: Aramark, Bates Hendricks Neighborhood Association, Citizens Gas, Friends & FACT Neighborhood Association, Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative/Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Indianapolis Making Connections, and the Southeast Learning Partnership. Thank you all.

Get involved in your neighborhood! Look for the list of Neighborhood Association meetings in this publication (pg 9.) Start a Block Group or Crime Watch. Call the SEND offices for a list of committees and meeting times. Come assist the SELP in gathering data and documenting the neighborhood on the second Monday of each month at 5pm in the SECS 2nd floor meeting room. Your involvement is wanted and encouraged to make Southeast Indy the best place to live!