Brightpoint gets creative again for United Way!
Twenty employees on five teams pedaled adult tricycles for about two miles from one Brightpoint facility to another in Plainfield. Hundreds of their Brightpoint peers cheered them on as they raced to benefit United Way. The relay-style tricycle race served as this year's special event, which the company has become known for, in an effort to increase both participation and excitement in its weeklong United Way campaign. Brightpoint has raised $83,000 so far in this year's campaign.
--Susie Friend, Hendricks County Area Director
Horton, Inc., a Carmel manufacturing company with 97 employees, had lots of fun activities and prizes during their United Way campaign, including a quite unusual one. Each of three shifts took a crack at turning Jim Gleber, Horton's director of manufacturing, into "Duct Tape Man", by purchasing one foot sections of duct tape for $1 and taping them to Jim to see how long he would "stick around" on the wall after they took the stool away, with the proceeds going to United Way. The winning time was over 4 minutes---definitely a new twist on "how to pin down your manager!"
-- Nancy Dietmeyer, Associate, Donor Relations - Hamilton County
Waiting for "Superman”
This is a heart-wrenching movie and very poignant. Unfortunately, what I see is that all of this does not apply to Indianapolis Public Schools or Indiana’s teachers’ unions. If we are realistic, change is hard and when your paycheck or retirement is tied to it, change it is even harder.
There are three pieces to education – the educators, parental involvement and student involvement. We cannot be responsible for students that don’t go to bed until midnight or later and then want to sleep in class, cause disruption, won’t do the work or just don’t come to school. Parents need to be parents and not their child’s friend. Parenting is a hard job and we as parents must make some unpopular decisions when it comes to our children’s education. As educators we must keep the expectation high and stop accepting excuses. If we are to be held accountable for our students’ education when are parents and students going to be held accountable for their responsibilities.
When we look at charter schools only 17% are successful, even Waiting for "Superman” agrees with this. Once ADM counts are determined and funding is granted for each student, some charter schools begin dumping children back into the public schools that they can’t service, handle and will not follow their rules. Truth be known, we need to change the laws so that funding follows the student because right now it does not. We as public schools don’t have the luxury to pick and choose who we educate. We must provide every child who attends a fair and equitable education as required in the Indiana Constitution. We cannot just remove a child without following the rules of due process.
Next, if we are serious about education in Indiana then we need to fund preschool and kindergarten. Why are children not required to attend school in the state of Indiana until the age of 7? Is that the unions' fault? No, that is a legislative error.
Now, let’s really take a hard look at education in a large urban district such as IPS. We deal with a school funding gap, health gap and most definitely a wealth gap.
IPS has about 32,000 students of which 83 percent or about 26,560 students that qualify for free and reduced lunch. So poverty is a reality in IPS, which affects the health and wealth of the children we serve. Poverty means a lot, and the movie shows that (the mom, Nakita, who couldn’t pay the tuition for parochial school) even while trying to tell us it doesn’t. Our children need a variety of services, and that is why some schools in IPS have Full Purpose Partnerships (FPP). The schools provide mentoring, counseling, medical care and other services that these families may not otherwise have access to or are able to afford.
IEA works collaboratively with IPS and works for the good of the children of the district. A recent collaboration was established in a memorandum of agreement dealing with “Turnaround” schools. All initiatives take 3-5 years to have proven data whether positive or negative.
Waiting for "Superman” talks about tenure and how hard it is to remove/terminate a teacher once they have it. Tenure in Indiana may be in the law, but it is not in application. IPS/IEA has a master agreement that allow administrators to begin the removal process. If you are unsatisfactory in classroom management and/or instruction, your contract can be terminated within one year.
IPS has many magnet programs to reach our children. We have a performing arts, political science and law, medical, and new tech high to name a few. We are trying to prepare our students to be college and career ready.
Finally, please don’t think these teaching fellows that come from the Ivy League schools and decide at the end to transition into education are the be all and end all for education. They have the same problems as any first and second year teacher and often cannot handle the pressure that comes with large urban districts. Becoming a teacher is a matter of heart not a last minute decision where you believe that you can save the “poor little urban children.” A true teacher never stops growing and perfecting their craft.
Our children don’t need to be saved, they need to be educated so the cycle of poverty can end. Unions are not the problem; protection of due process is why we are here. We are not Waiting for "Superman.”
President, Indianapolis Education Association
The stars really came out in Indy last night for United Way! Guests at the 7th annual “Wishing on Stars” event, hosted by Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts, were treated to some serious star power at Mo’s A Place for Steaks. Nearly 30 Colts and Pacers players, as well as several other local celebrities, mingled with guests to raise funds for United Way of Central Indiana. Jeremiah Hamman, owner of Mo’s A Place for Steaks, graciously emceed the event along with Dave Calabro from WTHR. Guests could take pictures, get autographs – even have special phone calls made by celebrities. Coach Jim Caldwell surprised UWCI staffer Katie Hackney’s husband with an impromptu phone call at home. Players served drinks and danced with lucky guests, while host Reggie Wayne signed autographs late into the night, tirelessly supporting the event. Thank you to everyone who attended! See more photos here.
-- Shannon Cochran, new business development manager, United Way of Central Indiana
Thanks to a grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, LLC, UWCI helped launch the Play 60 Challenge on Tuesday, October 5 at the Baxter Branch of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. Play 60 is a NFL project facilitated in Indiana by the Indianapolis Colts that encourages school-age children to be physically active for 60 minutes every day to promote health and combat the childhood obesity epidemic. Colts punter Pat McAfee and team mascot “Blue” joined representatives from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, UWCI, IPS, the American Heart Association and the Y to announce the Challenge. About 50 school-age children were also on hand to demonstrate a variety of vigorous physical activities for the camera.
For the next 6 weeks students enrolled in after school programs of the Y, John H. Boner Community Center, Edna Martin Christian Center and Indy Parks will learn fun new ways to be active and will also track their minutes of activity as part of the Play 60 state-wide competition. Play 60 is part of a school-based wellness effort that will also include fitness and character building events conducted by the Colts at selected IPS elementary schools and a nutrition education component. See more photos from the event here.
-- Chuck Brandenburg, director, special projects and grants
I'm the social worker at PrimeLife Enrichment (PLE), and it's my privilege to work with seniors as they navigate through any number of major life changes. Often, their stories involve dealing with the loss of a loved one as they make their grief journey.
With thousands of people now considering a contribution to United Way, I wanted to share a story from one of the more than 100 agencies that your gift supports about a real person whose life is made better, because we all give. "Edward*" is that someone.
Early this spring, 86-year-old Edward began attending bereavement support group meetings at PrimeLife, a United Way agency in Carmel. He sought comfort after losing his wife on Valentine’s Day. Edward still can’t talk of her without crying.
Edward never misses a support group meeting, and he also meets with me for individual counseling. He uses PrimeLife's Senior Activity Center several times a week. Edward loves the computer classes and computer club and uses the walking track and exercise equipment in the fitness center.
He still drives himself to the Center, but staff keep a close watch on him as he could be exhibiting early signs of dementia. It may just be temporary confusion resulting from grief, but we are prepared to provide transportation if and when it is needed.
A recent bereavement exercise, Things to Do When I’m Feeling Blue, provided evidence of the Center’s importance in Edward’s life. We asked each participant to name their three favorite persons to talk with; their favorite place to go; physical activities they enjoy, etc. – all intended to help them think of ways to help cope with grief.
Edward said his three favorite people were all Anita Scott – me! And his favorite place to go is PrimeLife.
Edward's only family live out of state, so he is without much support from them. Happily, he is finding the support he needs at his new “home away from home.” Thanks in part to your support of United Way, Edward now has a “village” watching over him. Thank you!
-- Anita Scott, Social Worker, PrimeLife Enrichment
*This story is true, but Edward's name is changed to protect his privacy.
Since 1981, UWCI has invested more than $4.5 million helping PrimeLife Enrichment, Inc. provide programs and services that promote independence, optimal wellness and socialization for Hamilton County residents aged 50 and beyond. United Way’s funding includes over $1.8 million for capital, facilities, technology and other targeted purposes. (These monies are contributed specifically for such needs and do not come from the annual campaign.) For the current funding year, the agency’s community allocation is $140,489.
Nancy Ahlrichs, (center) United Way of Central Indiana’s vice president-workforce development and diversity, accepts the “Crowning Achievement” award for an area employer that embraces and embodies diversity and inclusion. Jack Pomprowitz, Crown Services Inc., and Erin Brothers, chair of the Diversity Committee, Indianapolis Society of Human Resources Management, made the presentation. [news release]