Living Large in Little Homes
Oct11

Living Large in Little Homes

If you’ve been wanting to live bigger while taking up less space, you may want to hop aboard the small house movement. This weekend provides the perfect opportunity, as local nonprofit organization Brightpoint will hold it’s inaugural Tiny House Showcase. Join them October 13-15 at Parkview Field to get a first-hand look at a variety of tiny homes. Also, take time to explore multiple local and national vendors that can help all of your downsizing dreams come true. Brightpoint’s mission is to help people remove the causes and conditions of poverty. By hosting this event, they hope to bring awareness to what they do with quality, affordable housing. Jennie Renner, Development Manager, says they are also looking to start the conversation of a possible tiny house community in the area, something that isn’t possible now due to residential building restrictions. “If that’s what we wanted to do, we would have to make some changes, so we wanted to see how people felt about that. So far, it’s been positive,” said Renner. Four tiny homes are currently scheduled to be on display, along with vendors who weren’t able to bring a home, but will have plenty of information on hand. What else can people expect to see? “Probably the most unusual one is Nature’s Earthly Way. They do composting toilets,” said Renner. Other participants include Fort Wayne Outfitters, North Coast Organics, and Clean Craft Soapworks, just to name a few. Come and get a sneak peak Friday night at the VIP Preview Party, where you can view some tiny homes, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Also, keynote speaker Michael Anthony will be talking about Lomax, a tiny house community in his home of San Pierre, Indiana. If you attend Friday, you will also get a ticket to return later in the weekend. VIP Preview Party:  $40 Friday, October 13, 2017 – 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM General Admission:  $12 Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Sunday, October 15, 2017 – 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM Children 12 and under get in free with an adult. Tickets and more information can be...

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The (Other) Game of Life: Poverty Simulation
Dec05

The (Other) Game of Life: Poverty Simulation

No, I’m not talking about a re-vamped version of your parents’ favorite Milton Bradley game. In fact, for many people it’s not a game at all. Poverty is an epidemic that affects everyone – whether they live it, or they help fund the programs for those that live it. Out of the 316+ million people in America, over 46 million live in poverty, meaning the national poverty rate is at around 14.6%. To break it down even further (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), Indiana’s poverty rate is an estimated 14.7% and Fort Wayne is at a desperate 17.5%. It’s very alarming to find that our beloved city has a poverty rate significantly higher than the national average. That is a lot of people in need. You often hear about professors, coaches, and pastors talking to others about the importance of giving back and helping to make a difference in the world, but you don’t see many people putting on entire simulation productions in order to help others experience impoverished lifestyles first-hand. Insert Dr. Rachel Rayburn, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at IPFW. For the second year in a row, she has worked in collaboration with CANI to conduct a Poverty Simulation event that engages her students in “experiential learning.” Dr. Rayburn chooses this highly interactive opportunity over a traditional final exam, and she has plenty of good reason to do so: “There are a lot of stereotypes out and questions about poverty and homelessness. Some are true – some are not. Poverty is also a relative concept. What one person perceives as “poor” could be another person’s affluence. One of the benefits of an event like this is that my students are free to explore controversial questions. This event may not provide all the answers to every question about poverty, but it gives an opportunity to consider assumptions. Further, poverty involves a lot of organizations and systems. The simulation does not just deal with shelters and food stamps (although they are interesting systems to navigate if you haven’t had those experiences). We also incorporate public schooling, law enforcement, corrections, pawnshops, employment, marriage, and other social institutions. Again, I’ll emphasize experiential learning – making meaning from direct experience. I really pressure my students to go find things out for themselves. Just this semester, we have been to the Allen County Department of Homeland Security, Community Harvest Food Bank, The Rescue Mission, and Allen County Juvenile Corrections among other places. I lecture and I show videos, but there is simply no comparison to the full experience of the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions that occur within these institutions. I greatly appreciate these organizations taking...

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