The Literacy Alliance Fights Illiteracy in Fort Wayne
Dec16

The Literacy Alliance Fights Illiteracy in Fort Wayne

When you wake up, what is the first thing you do? Do you head downstairs to read the morning paper or your favorite online news source to catch up on what’s going on in the world? Do you read e-mails, text messages, or a book? Now imagine you can’t read well enough or fast enough to do any of that. Life would become pretty difficult, right? It’s scary to think about. Did you know over 30,000 people in Allen County can’t read and don’t have a high-school diploma? That’s even scarier. The Literacy Alliance, formerly known as Three Rivers Literacy Alliance, is a non-profit organization founded here in Fort Wayne in 1988 by the late Judy Stabelli. Located at 1005 W. Rudisill Boulevard in Suite 307 at The Summit campus, The Literacy Alliance was formed to battle illiteracy in Fort Wayne and the Allen County by offering assistance to adults age 18 and older. There are 9 learning centers in Fort Wayne that offer classes at various times for accessibility. Their services include basic adult education, small group reading classes, and prep for the High School Equivalency diploma (formerly GED). The agency uses professional teachers and trained tutors, and coordinates outreach services including free child care and transportation because their mission is to do whatever it takes to make learning and improving possible for everyone. Mike Landram, Executive Director, said “We’re in the business of helping adults get a second chance.” Some of those students who are looking to become self-sufficient, want to read to their families, or obtain better jobs who test at or above the fifth grade level will be placed in one of the High School Equivalency (HSE) centers. Other students who test below the fifth grade level have a different curriculum and are placed in pre-HSE classes. These classes are offered free of charge. Currently, The Literacy Alliance has helped approximately 7,000 adults improve their literacy and 700 adults achieve their HSE that they need to live, work, and play in Fort Wayne. “People are surprised when I’m asked how many adults in Fort Wayne and Allen County are without a high school diploma and there’s over 30,000 adults in our community. That’s about 11% of the population that is without a high school diploma, and so when you look at that in the community that is a fairly extensive problem,” said Mike Landram, Executive Director. The move to The Summit from Clay Street assisted with visibility, accessibility, and recruitment which led for The Literacy Alliance to hold an Open House that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony in partnership with Greater Fort Wayne with special guests such as Mayor Tom Henry and students Norma...

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SCAN: Preparing Parents. Protecting Children.
Sep12

SCAN: Preparing Parents. Protecting Children.

Since 1974 SCAN (Stop Child Abuse & Neglect), has helped eliminate abuse and neglect of children through family services, education and community partnerships in Northeast Indiana. SCAN believes every family has value. SCAN Programs: SCAN offers 8 prevention programs (with many families in more than just one program): Community Partners /Network is the largest program which offers one-on-one in-home case management and crisis intervention to help struggling parents have their children return back to their home. Healthy Families offers free support to Allen County families with newborns up to 90 days old (for up to 3 years). Daybreak Crisis Homes are free of charge and available to children living in Allen County, who are under the age of 11, and going through a family crisis. Family Connections help families going through or are already divorced. Education Services are free to children ages 3-18 and adults. This program offers workshops about preventing child abuse and neglect, bullying and gun safety. Read to Me supplies free new or gently used books to children ages 0-18. Statewide Quality Assurance/Technical Training is provided to 56 sites in Indiana.  Maternal Infant Early Child Oversight is provided to 10 sites in Indiana. Be SomeOne Now is a joint program with WorkOne Northeast which provides education and employment opportunities to individuals aged 16-21. SCAN also offers five restoration programs for families who are referred by the Indiana Department of Child Services and Juvenile Probation: Home-Based Casework Services provides in-home one-on-one services to parents to help them become nurturing competent parents. Visitation Facilitation helps to keep children safe and teach parents skills in coping with their children. Home-Based Therapy provides assistance while recovering from abuse in a family’s natural environment. Homemaker Services helps parents learn how to clean a home and care for a child. Intensive Intervention Team is a crisis response program focused on rapidly correcting problems that may lead to the removal of children from the home. SCAN Projects: The Joan Sherman Program started in 2011, in partnership with the Devereux Center, and further develops resiliency programs for children and adults who have experienced abuse and neglect; and works to prevent the cycle of abuse and neglect. Families engaged in SCAN’s Supervised Visitation program are invited to voluntarily participate. Parents learn to strengthen the ‘within’ protective factors of their children who are victims which will then increase their resilience. Evidence shows those children who have those protective factors with the external resiliency building supports are more successful academically, less likely to be in the criminal justice system and have fewer long-term mental and physical health problems. All of  which are to important to the success of ending the cycle of abuse and...

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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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See a Soul Smile with Special Olympics
Mar06

See a Soul Smile with Special Olympics

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”  That’s the oath recited by Special Olympics athletes before every event. It perfectly sums up exactly what the spirit of this organization is about. Not everyone is an amazing athlete. We weren’t all blessed with blazing speed, exceptional hand-eye coordination, or immense strength. But everyone, regardless of age, skillset, size, or mental capacity, can give their best effort and do it with a positive attitude. That’s a choice. And it’s a choice that 99.9% of Special Olympics athletes make every time they step on the court, field, course, or venue. Special Olympics is an opportunity for people of all ages, race, ethnicity, or creed to be active and enjoy time with their peers and friends. That goes for the athletes as well as the volunteers, supporters, coaches, and officials. The Special Olympics mission is to “provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.” Once you’ve seen firsthand the determination and joy of a Special Olympics athlete achieving or simply attempting to achieve their goal you realize that it’s much more than sports. It’s human nature at its best. That’s not hyperbole, just talk to anyone with an open mind who has spent an hour at a Special Olympics activity. The level of respect and acceptance demonstrated is unparalleled, and the positive results are immeasurable and lifelong. Special Olympics Allen County athletes participate in basketball, track & field, bowling, aquatics, golf, and more. The local organization is run entirely by tireless and enthusiastic volunteers and receives support from Special Olympics Indiana. There are many ways to get involved – participate as an athlete, volunteer as a coach, or if you’re not comfortable with providing instruction, they can use help with administrative duties, facilities, and financial support through donations and sponsorship. To find out more or to get involved visit www.specialolympicsallencounty.org and click on the Contact Us tab. If you or someone you know could benefit from socialization and physical activity, track season will be starting soon and they welcome any and all assistance and participation – the only requirements are an open mind, a positive attitude, and a love for...

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