Hands-on education at Science Central
Aug28

Hands-on education at Science Central

Northeast Indiana is home to many great nonprofits that engage with the community at-large to address issues vital to making Fort Wayne a desirable place to live, work, learn, and play. We start off this week with one of Fort Wayne’s most visible institutions, Science Central, “a regional resource that provides inspiring and hands-on science education for people of all ages.” Background Although Science Central opened in 1995, its story as a nonprofit organization actually begins earlier than that. In 1987, community leaders came together to start working towards the goal of developing a hands-on science center for northeast Indiana. As the Science Collective of Northeast Indiana, the organization developed a presence in the community by developing off-site programming at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and with schools across the area. Innovative programming, community engagement, and outreach continue to play significant roles in Science Central’s operations as a nonprofit. The organization is currently in the first year of its new three-year strategic plan, which includes infrastructure improvements, plans for new permanent exhibits, and a possible goal to soon initiate a silent fundraising campaign to develop and install a new $1-1.5 million exhibit in a now undeveloped part of the building. The science of storytelling Two successful recent developments have enhanced the organization’s ability to share its mission. The organization’s new logo and marketing materials and the Science On a Sphere exhibit, which features a three dimensional research tool designed to educate visitors about earth and space systems have both received positive feedback from the community. Science Central plans to have two-to-four traveling exhibits per year with the next one being Marvelous Molecules: The Secret of Life, tentatively scheduled for September 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015. The exhibit will feature a series of stations, computer interactives, and hands-on models for visitors to learn about the similarities and differences among molecules of different species. In addition to this, Science Central continues to offer traveling labs, demonstrations, assemblies, and festivals at schools and other off site locations via The Outreach (Science4U) program. Getting involved As a nonprofit organization, funding for operations is an expected challenge. Eighty-five percent of similar science institutions receive annual public/government funds for general operations, but Science Central does not and relies on funds, grants, and the generosity of the community to fund its growth. If you or your organization are interested in getting involved with Science Central, there are numerous ways to do so through the organization’s ongoing membership, volunteering, sponsorship, community partnership, and fundraising opportunities. Individual and corporate memberships are available on their website. Basic individual membership provides numerous benefits such as free admission for two adults at the same address and any six...

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YWCA Northeast Indiana, Let’s Give Allen County
May03

YWCA Northeast Indiana, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with YWCA’s Public Awareness Coordinator, Sydney McKerr. YWCA Northeast Indiana is one of the five nonprofits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th. Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. YWCA Northeast Indiana is currently celebrating 120 years of service to the community. Founded in 1894 as a safe place for working women to meet, the agency grew in size and influence in the downtown area in the early 20th century. In 1976, we opened the doors of the Crisis Shelter, the first shelter for abused women in the state of Indiana, which still provides essential services today. Women come to YWCA Northeast Indiana in times of crisis: as survivors of domestic violence or as refugees starting a new life. They come for emotional support and empowerment.  They come for help in finding childcare, job training and a better education.  They come for a variety of reasons, and they leave with a renewed spirit, new skills and stronger lives. What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? YWCA Northeast Indiana is always in need of supporters committed to our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. That support can come in the form of volunteer time, monetary or in-kind donations, or participation in one of the many events we host throughout the year. Do you have any upcoming events? At our Annual Meeting on May 19th, we will be taking special time to celebrate our 120th Anniversary, presenting the 2014 Peggy Hobbs Award for excellence in volunteerism, and honoring the many staff and volunteers who have contributed to our mission over the past year. For more information on other events to come in 2014 (like 100 Good Men or Domestic Violence Awareness Month), visit our website at www.ywca.org/NEIN. What are some of the biggest goals for your organization over the next couple of years? Over the next few years, we are committed to raising awareness of domestic violence and the importance of community involvement in ending it, as well as strengthening ties to the outer counties that we serve (DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells, and Whitley). Tell us a little more about the project or campaign that any money raised from Let’s Give Allen County will help to benefit. YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Crisis Shelter is a 45-bed facility that provides immediate crisis intervention 24/7/365 to victims of domestic violence and their children. Upon arriving at the shelter, our clients receive essential needs, assistance with safety planning, and the emotional support they need to cope with the crisis(es) they are experiencing....

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Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Let’s Give Allen County
Apr28

Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with Renaissance Pointe YMCA Executive Director, Tabitha Ervin. Renaissance Pointe YMCA is one of the five non-profits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th. Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. The YMCA has had a long history in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The first Y was established in 1858. The Y is one of the nation’s leading non-profits and largest providers of childcare. Here in Fort Wayne, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has six full membership facilities (Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Central YMCA, Parkview YMCA, Jorgensen YMCA, Whitley County YMCA and Wells County YMCA). We also have a camp site: Camp Potawotami, a Childcare Services branch and the Youth Services Bureau. We serve over 45,000 members and many more people through our vast programming across the city. Our mission, “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all” is present in all we do. The Y has helped the community with such programs as: Y Diabetes Prevention Program, Obesity Wellness Network, LiveStrong Cancer Program, Parkview LiVe Healthy Families program and more! What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? The Y is very welcoming to volunteers in our programs. There is an application process and then volunteers are trained and placed within their areas of interest. We also accept volunteers for special events as well. Do you have any upcoming events? Healthy Families Week at all local Y’s: April 26-May 2 Splash Pad Opening at Renaissance Pointe: Memorial Day, May 26 World’s Largest Swim Lesson at Renaissance Pointe: Friday, June 20, 11am What are some of the biggest goals for your organization over the next couple of years? Continuing to connect with children, teens, families and Active Older Adults in the community through effective programming. Tell us a little more about the project or campaign that any money raised from Let’s Give Allen County will help to benefit. Team SOS-Team Students of Success is our Teen Program that is focused on leadership, character building, life skills and college and career readiness. The goal of the group is, “to promote and enhance the social skills and academics of young people in order to develop LEADERS who will be a positive force in their communities.” The group also volunteers in the local community to support others. The group meets weekly and works on college applications, has speakers and goes on field trips, all to promote positive growth and change in their...

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