Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space
Aug16

Fort Wayne Astronomical Society Brings Us Closer to Space

I am fascinated with space, and maybe you are, too. The solar eclipse is coming up, and the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society has our space nerdery covered. I went to their July General Meeting to get more information, and member Jon Thomas gave an exceptional explanation on how we plan on getting to Mars. We explored possible routes to the Red Planet, the length of time they’d take, and the pros and cons. He also covered different theories on how we could make water, methane for propellant, and oxygen for the stay on Mars and the trip home. Finally, Jon covered the concerns about the trip, one of the bigger ones being the human factor. The FWAS began in 1959 as a not-for-profit “to support amateur observing and promote public education in Astronomy and related sciences.” They hold several meetings once a month both public and for members only and have public observing sessions every clear Saturday which start about an hour after sunset. Public observing sessions are held at Jefferson Township Park in New Haven at their newly built observatory, featuring a 16″ telescope. FWAS has volunteers that will come out to your large group, school, or church with telescopes, and teach you about what you’re seeing in the sky. I asked society secretary Gene Stringer if they were planning an event for the solar eclipse on August 21st. Not only are they planning an event, they’re planning two! The first event will be at the Allen County Main Public Library on Aug. 21 from 12-3pm. The FWAS will be handing out eclipse viewing glasses on a first-come, first-served basis. They will also be bringing telescopes with sun filters and projectors to help us view the event. The food trucks will be there and admission is free but donations are welcomed. The second is a group of society members who are actually traveling to Evansville, IN. The Society says that hotels have been booked for two years in preparation for this event. The Solar Eclipse will be crossing over 14 states on August 21, 2017. For more information on the solar eclipse, check out NASA’s website. Find out more about the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society on their website, and follow them on Facebook and...

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TRACK: Using the Power of Art to Combat Child Abuse
May24

TRACK: Using the Power of Art to Combat Child Abuse

Can artistic expression change the lives of children in Fort Wayne? Three Rivers Art Center for Kids (TRACK) is a new non-profit organization that is calling attention to the issue of child abuse through the arts. TRACK founder Terry Doran has been involved with the arts and non-profits in Fort Wayne for over 30 years. As children, he and his brothers were both victims of mental and emotional abuse by their mother. Doran sat down for an interview recently after a TRACK benefit concert in remembrance of his brother Rick who died in 2000 after a subsequent and lingering battle with depression. Since Rick’s passing, Doran took these experiences and focused them into a community dialogue about child abuse with a small group of volunteers, and founded TRACK in late 2012. The dialogue continues next month, as Katherine Reddick will be discussing child welfare at the Allen County Public Library – Main Branch, Meeting Room A at 2 pm on Saturday, June 28. Reddick, an educator from Texas, received international exposure in 2013 after writing a “scathing” newspaper obituary with her brother about their abusive mother to shed light on the issue of child abuse. Reddick will also be holding three workshops on foster care and challenges associated with it. The entire event will be free to attend. “She really wants people to leave with a feeling that they can do something,” said Doran. Funded by a Cable Fund Access Board grant, outreach events like this have been the focus of the organization since its founding. Past outreach includes the benefit concert for Rick, two public awareness programs with Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne and an award-winning dance performance on the issue of child abuse by the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. “The shows have been successful in terms of quality,” said Doran. The organization has had issues with a tight budget and no permanent space, which has limited its ability to work directly with children. Recently, Byron Health Center, a senior care facility north of Fort Wayne, reached out to Doran and offered use of its recreation center, free of charge, to do classes, events, and activities for kids. In the long term, TRACK would like to be downtown as part of the downtown revitalization efforts, but, getting started, Byron should serve its needs well. “TRACK is not just for abused kids, it’s for all kids. I believe that you need to have healthy kids interacting with kids that have problems, and I think that will benefit both of them.” TRACK wants to start up new classes for children and get people interested in volunteering in sharing any artistic...

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Creative Women of the World helps women find their voice
Apr29

Creative Women of the World helps women find their voice

Nestled in the former Continuum Art Gallery on West Wayne Street is a beacon of hope for women around the world. Creative Women of the World (C-WOW) has made it its mission to inspire creative and business solutions for women seeking to rise out of extreme poverty, human trafficking, and disasters. Walking into the cozy storefront, visitors are greeted by an assortment of handbags, jewelry, and other accessories – trendy, contemporary items, all available for purchase. But there is a story behind these items and a story behind this organization. Founded in 2011 by creative entrepreneur Lorelei VerLee, C-WOW has empowered women from around the world by teaching them viable business and marketing solutions to assist them in their start-up efforts. VerLee grew up internationally, studied art in college, and liked the idea of working with people from different cultures. At the age of 56, VerLee found herself in a primitive, rural community in Haiti where she was invited to assist an artisan-based start-up develop a business plan for distributing their unique products. Soon artisans from other countries were asking for similar business development assistance, which led to the incorporation of C-WOW as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2011. Since that time, the organization has offered consulting in nine countries worldwide and represents 40 countries in the shop. But, VerLee does not do it alone. “An amazing team of people have joined us and made it all happen,” said VerLee, currently the executive director of the organization. With a team of ten staff and scores of volunteers, C-WOW typically spends two weeks to a month providing in-country consulting with artisans from these countries. Artisans are trained on a range of business areas, such as product development, marketing, and record-keeping, and are encouraged to develop high-quality products that reflect their culture. These new business owners may sell their products locally or export them internationally. If appropriate, they are trained to design items for a western perspective, which can vary from local sensibilities. In the past, C-WOW has worked with tsunami survivors in Japan, HIV survivors in Kenya, and recently traveled to India where they were able to notice the stark contrast between the country’s sprawling technology sector and the rural desert area near the Pakistani border. Here, they met with women living in small, spotlessly clean, rustic homes with floors made from dung. “Our organization finds giving people access and empowerment is far more effective than charity that leads them to assume help is found outside rather than inside themselves”, said VerLee. Through these activities, the women express an inner strength and dignity that finds voice through their arts. As for...

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