Members of the Class of 2017-18 are diving in to their community projects.
The six projects were unveiled at the end of Community Issues Day on Wednesday, Dec. 6. They cover a wide variety of issues — from childhood literacy and health to horticulture and politics. A key part of the Leadership experience, the projects will give class members the opportunity to work in small groups as they take on initiatives designed to better the community. The projects were proposed by various groups and class members themselves. In all, 20 proposals originally were submitted for consideration. A committee of the LHC board of directors chose the projects for the class in mid-November.
The project teams will work to complete their projects in April and will present their results during presentations at graduation on May 2.
Here is a summary of the projects and the class members who will work on them:
Transform the offices of Bentley’s Buddies and Friends, a program to encourage young readers, into a kid-friendly environment. Bentley’s Buddies trains dogs and their owners to spend time with children, who read to the dogs in an environment that helps them build confidence. The program visits classrooms and also works out of an office in downtown Greenfield, especially when school is not in session. The Leadership team will design and present to the organization ideas for decor and will organize a volunteer effort to redo the office space to make it a more kid-friendly atmosphere. Team members: Alex Bush, Medicap Pharmacy; Chris Carter, Hancock Regional Hospital; Cara Fields, Elanco Animal Health; Tracy Sweet, IU Health.
Create a pilot program to keep school health offices well-stocked with emergency clothing stores in the event of playground accidents, dress-code issues, bathroom emergencies, etc. The program would begin in the Mt. Vernon schools and would be built so it could be used in districts countywide. Health offices already collect clothing items for emergency needs, but schools have trouble keeping the stores stocked because the items are rarely returned. Goals include possibly creating a district “clothing bank”; working with organizations to sponsor clothing drives; and appealing to area businesses for donations. Team members: Maria Bond, Mt. Vernon schools; Stephanie Haines, the Daily Reporter; Linda Thakrar, Hancock County Public Library; Stephanie Wilson, Hancock Physician Network.
Create a Hancock County Debate Commission, which will be a nonpartisan entity that will organize and oversee political debates in key local and regional elections. The Leadership Hancock County team will write by-laws; recruit a board; and hand off responsibility for the debates before the primary election next May. Team members: Nick Riedman, city of Greenfield; Staci Starcher, town of McCordsville; Diana Trautmann, Elanco Animal Health; Greg Woods, Greenfield Banking Co.
Create a garden with native plants outside the window of the Nature Nook area of the Children’s Department of the Hancock County Public Library’s main branch. The garden will be designed to attract wildlife such as birds, bees and butterflies. The Nature Nook of the library was designed in 2015 to bring the outdoors inside with a view finder and interactive displays. A large swath of unused library property nearby also could be developed to attract pollinators and wildlife that would be visible from the children’s area. Team members: Kelly Leddy, MainSource Bank; Jena Mattix, Hancock County Public Library; Courtney Miller, Jane Pauley Community Health Center; Renee Oldham, Mt. Vernon Education Foundation.
Start the “5210” program in county public schools. The 5210 program is an educational effort that strives to assist children in making healthier choices. The program educates children to aim for eating 5 fruit or vegetable servings every day; keep recreational screen time to 2 hours or fewer each day; include at least 1 hour or more of physical activity each day; and consume 0 sugar-sweetened beverages while drinking more water every day. The Leadership team will work on rolling out a pilot program to one age level — likely younger students — in one of the school systems. A school will first have to be identified and stakeholders engaged. Team members: Angela Flench, Indiana Department of Transportation; Christy Harpold, Greenfield-Central schools; Dr. Jason Hua, Jane Pauley Community Health Center; Adam Wilhelm, Hancock Regional Hospital.
Revamping the Leadership Hancock County Scavenger Hunt, which is a key part of the organization’s team-building retreat each fall. The team will be tasked with incorporating technology and social media into the activity to make it more interactive for participants. Possible upgrades also include using geo-caching or some sort of GPS component to highlight teams’ progress during the hunt. The group also will write a brand-new trivia test. Team members: Diane Petry, Life Choices Care Center; George Plisinski, NineStar Connect; Jason Wells, Hancock Regional Hospital; Stacey Wixson, Greenfield Banking Co.