Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Education/ Child & Youth Programming Community Goal Updates

Goal 1: Increase play/event attendance at Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy by 100% by November 2018.

-Since 2015 we valiantly promoted Wirt-Emerson online, by attending as many events as possible and getting their students to participate in Gary’s Miller Spotlight events such as the Doors to Miller Project, Disability Awareness Month Art Contest, Fest in the First and The Lake St Lantern Parade. 

The MBACD hosted a showcase of the Wirt-Emerson students’ work and also hosted one for Bead Town. We helped their parent action group with requests they had for donations and volunteers.
Additionally Miller Spotlight’s Education and Youth/ Child Programming Action Group sold $1,000.00-worth of Wirt swag. These items were found in the locker room at Wirt-Emerson. Our volunteers washed 40 years worth of jerseys and were able to sell three quarters of them at the Wirt All Class Reunion in June of 2016. They continued to sell the remaining Swag at our famers market from July-September of 2016. Sales from this swag went towards funding programming at Wirt-Emerson. 

***We created evites on FB & ND for all of their events for the 2017-2018 school year upon receiving their calendar. 

Sadly DUAB decided to close Wirt-Emerson this summer (2018). We are now working to enforce an appropriate decorative board up to be implemented on site. 

***This action Group’s recommendation is to up date this goal to promote West Side Theater Guild's productions as many children in our community now preform there.

Goal 2: Host annual Miller Spotlight Harvest Festival to increase enrollment of local educational institutions and programs for youth and children by 10% by 2019. 

-Originally part of our Early Action Projects, Harvest Fest 2015 was a smashing success We received a $500 Miller Community Fund Grant to Host Harvest Fest 2016 and $155 donation from Ayers Reality for the street permit. 

The original reason the group put on Harvest Fest was that Gary’s 1st District used to have an awesome celebration called Fest in the First. It hadn’t been put on in several years, so our volunteers decided to do Harvest Fest 2015.



Gary's 1st Precinct Organization decided to bring Fest in the First back for 2016. The community was very happy about this! Our volunteers partnered with the precinct committeemen/women who run Fest in the First.

We hosted an educational/ youth and child programming corridor at the Marshall J. Gardner Center during Fest in the First 2016 and used the grant money to make the space as family friendly as possible. 

We helped the 1st District Precinct Organization with the online campaign and distributed 20,000 flyers across Gary and our surrounding cities. We had roughly 3,000 people attend Fest in the First 2016. The 1st District Precinct Organization stated that this was the most well attended Fest in the First to date. 
The boards local kids decorated at as our 2016 Fest in the First service project were used as our decorative board up project in Aetna. 

For Fest in the First 2017, we secured two homes in Emerson adjacent to Idle Hours Park. 
Even though Fest in the First was super successful, people still wanted to do something fun and festive for October. So, we hosted The First Annual Lake St Lantern Parade down Lake Street on Friday 10/29/16 with 116 people parading with 100+ spectators. We hosted this to celebrate the progress being made at The Dana Evans Community Corner (the former Ralph’s Wilco) and to bring attention to all the programming we are doing in the community as a whole. 

We also cohosted Have S’more Fun Event with Councilwoman Wyatt and the Gary Rotary Club on 10/29/16 with 116 people at The Dana Evans Community Corner (the former Ralph’s Wilco). Locals were able to casually discuss the community goals and get excited about projects happening across the city. 

We held this event for the second year in a row on 10/27/17 with another great turn out and fabulous after party at our backbone organization, the MBACD. The Third Annual Lake Street Lantern Parade will take place on 10/26/18 more info coming soon. 

***This action Group’s recommendation is to up date this goal to cohost Fest in the First each year in September and then to partner with The Shops on Lake St & the MBA for the Lake St Lantern Fest (which will always be the Friday before Halloween). 

Goal 3: Create a community space and maintain a local institution by opening the Wirt- Emerson pool to the public by May 2017. 

-The Dana Evans Community Corner was completed in the spring of 2017. It is a nice intergenerational space.

-The Ken Parr Build-a-Bike has been open since June of 2017. It is open every Saturday from 10am-noon until October 21, 2017. It reopens Saturday, May 26, 2018

-Wells Street Beach implemented “Wednesdays at Wells Street” from June-September of 2016 to promote family-friendly activities and teen space. 

-St. Mary of the Lakes hosted their basketball program for youth the last week of June. -

-The Revolution Church hosted their first annual VBS on Lake Street and is helping implement basketball at Park Shore Commons.

-CARgo conducted a year’s worth of poetry workshops across Gary.

***This action Group’s recommendation is to up date this goal to be a longterm project. The pool needs a filter and there are issues with the heating system. Wirt-Emerson has roof issues as well. Additionally the Gary School Corporation was taken over by the State of Indiana in the spring of 2016. As the entire school system is in limbo, we are on pause with this goal, but have informed the Distressed Unit Administration Board of the community’s intentions. DUAB announced that it is closing Wirt-Emerson. The group recommends transitioning this goal to be implemented at City Life Center which is in the former YMCA and has a pool that needs an estimated $40-$60k in repairs to be brought back into use. 

Goal 4: Host Annual April Showcase beginning in 2017 to increase awareness of programs offered by all local schools.
-We incorporated this into Fest in the First. Students from across Gary perform at Fest in the First and we display their artwork as well. Additionally, City Life Center hosted it's first summer showcase to great success. 

***This action Group’s recommendation is to up date this goal to have City Life host a summer showcase annually as it was an overwhelming success in 2018.

Goal 5: Hold quarterly meetings with representatives of each school (public and charter), parents/guardians, youth organizations, and the community to share concerns and develop unified advocacy strategy. 
-We are reaching out to partners for this group. So, far the Charter School of the Dunes, Steel City Academy, the Miller Kids Co-Op (our homeschooling group) and Officer Lillie are definitely on board. We are attempting to connect with our public schools which have been in major turmoil from 2015-2018. We are hoping to launch the first meet up soon. Gary's Redevelopment Department is creating a comprehensive plan. The education committee (composed of volunteers) are gathering data citywide on how the education scene has changed over the past few years.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Area Context Community Goal Updates

Goal 1: Market the Miller neighborhood to increase positive press mentions to at least once quarterly and to increase tourism by 10% in 2016. 

Received the Hoosier-American Planning Award for Outreach for 2016 
(Jessica Renslow Accepting the 2016 American Planning Award for Excellence in Outreach at BSU.)

Marketing Partnerships
-StoryCorps (Chicago Office) recorded 12 pair interviews ( 24 people) in Miller on Saturday 3/19/16 and Sunday 3/20/16. This was the first time they had recorded in Indiana. They rarely do onsite interviews, but our Area Context Group convinced their producers that our neighborhood was ripe with interesting and positive tales to tell. The producers have recommended four of the 12 interviews for NPR’s national broadcast. Jessie Renslow garnered permission to edit and distribute the 12 StoryCorps recordings on all Miller Spotlight hubs/ local news media if so desired. 
(Podcasting 101 at Steel City Academy.)
***January 3rd-6th 2017 Gary's Miller Spotlight volunteers covered equipment management, digital literacy and basics of podcasting for 4 days in course (Harnessing Your Narrative created by Jessie Renslow) . They taught Gary kids how to harness their narrative through podcasting at Steel City Academy in Glen Park. 

***February 4th-6th 2017: Our community partners Family Folklore Foundation, Inc. and Almost Fairytales premiered a short film entitled "Radio Renaissance" at the Praxis Film Festival this February in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Congrats to these awesome volunteers. They have been helping us with our citywide digital time capsule project. The short takes place in the 46403 and explains the importance of digital literacy initiatives for emerging communities. 

***August 3rd & August 19th 2017: On August 3rd our community partners, Family Folklore Foundation, Inc. and The Indigen Storytellers Guild, held a storytelling workshops that was attended by 14 people at The Stage Gary Business Incubator/ Coworking Space. Participants are performing their stories at The Stage Gary on August 19th as part of their August Small Business Saturday. They will host another workshop & performance in November of 2017.

***We have a potential partnership with one of our NWI/Chicagoland media syndicates to air the interviews as podcasts once we get 30 plus interviews completed. 

Blogs about Gary’s Miller Community: 

Goal 2: Host quarterly social gatherings with at least 100 attendees to update the Miller Quality of Life Plan and secure volunteers for new initiatives. 

(S'mores at the 2nd Annual Lake St Lantern Parade.)
-We hosted a Memorial Day parade down Lake Street on 5/28/16 with 42 people parading with 50+ spectators. We hosted this to kickoff the summer season and to bring at- tention to all the programming we are doing at Lake St Beach this summer and across the community as a whole. 

-We hosted The First Annual Lake St Lantern Parade down Lake Street on Friday 10/29/16 with 116 people parading with 100+ spectators. We hosted this to celebrate the progress being made at The Dana Evans Community Corner (the former Ralph’s Wilco) and to bring attention to all the programming we are doing in the community as a whole. 
(After party fun at the 2nd Annual Lake St Lantern Parade.)
-We cohosted Have S’more Fun Event with Councilwoman Wyatt and the Gary Rotary Club on 10/29/16 with 116 people at The Dana Evans Community Corner (the former Ralph’s Wilco). Locals were able to casually discuss the community goals and get excit- ed about projects happening across the city. 

-We hosted our 4th of July in January on 1/28/17 at the MBACD from 1-3pm. Thirty-six people helped us celebrate our milestones and add additional goals to our updated Community Plan.

-On Sunday 10/8/17 from 5-8pm at The Stage Gary (located at 925 N Shelby St Gary, IN 46403) will thanked our volunteers and celebrated all of Gary’s Miller Spotlight’s milestones. There was a short awards ceremony highlighting our extremely active volunteers. 

(Gary Rotarians helping run the 2nd Annual Lake St Lantern Parade.)

-We hosted The 2nd Annual Lake St Lantern Parade & Have S’more Fun Event on Friday 10/27/17. 100+ people paraded and 100+ watched. We hosted this to celebrate the programming we are doing and to bring a fun community event to the MBACD.
-We hosted a Main Streets info session on January 23, 2018. Gary’s Miller Spotlight volunteers are starting the process to become a Main Streets Community with the State of Indiana. This is a national program run in Indiana through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs aka OCRA.
(ARMP volunteers learning about OCRA's Main Streets Program.)

-Our community partners at the Aetna Manor Revitalization Program also hosted a Main Streets info session on February 17, 2018. The ARMP volunteers are also starting the process to become a Main Streets Community with the State of Indiana. This is a national program run in Indiana through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs aka OCRA.

Goal 3: Build virtual and physical community bulletin boards in 2016. 

-Part A:
Our backbone organization MBACD partnered with our local IT gurus, Openhill, and have launched Dragonfly NWI (the virtual community bulletin board). We partnered with them to run two tech literacy workshops for our local businesses and organizations. 18 representatives attended these workshops. They represented most of our businesses and organizations. They are starting to adopt the virtual bulletin board.

***We are continuing to do one-on-one training with folks who need extra help transitioning to this new platform. Checkout http://dragonflynwi.com 

-Part B:
We have a bulletin board secured at Wells Street Beach. The Pickford family partnered with us to update the board all summer.

We have partnered with The Charter School of the Dunes who have a digital sign. They are located at one of our community entrances (US 20 and Old Hobart Rd.) So, they post updates for the community when we make a request. 

(Bulletin board coming soon!)
3rd physical bulletin board is being built by Mary Duggard for the Dana Evans Community Corner (aka the former Ralph’s-Wilco).

We would like a 4th physical bulletin board on the east side of town (since we have the westward one at Wells St. and the digital one in the middle of town). We have approached a local artist and one of our local woodworkers. They have verbally agreed to create the physical bulletin board. We are setting out a timeline for this currently. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Access Miller 2017-2018 Goals

We have expanded from our original Goal 1: Identify and engage at least ten (10) key regional partners involved in development, improvements and funding of transportation infrastructure to advocate for and find means to achieve our short and long term goals beginning 10/31/2015. 

We are continuing to advocate and push to create communities that all residents can grow up in and old in, aka life-long neighborhoods/ age-friendly cities.  NICTD is planning to extend its double track and so there has been a great amount of attention placed on Gary’s tourism opportunities. As group we are showcasing critical mass and advocating for complete streets across Northwest Indiana and the state as a whole. 
Our initiative is designed to increase ridership and investment in our blue/green trails. (Particularly close to our hearts is finishing The Gary Green Link and uniting Deep River with more accessible kayak launches. We would love to help install a launch in Lake Station at Bicentennial Park and one one New Chicago along the river.) Cyclist, paddlers, ecotourists and the disabled will travel if opportunities are there for them.

Goal 2: Increase number of residents biking, rolling and walking in Miller 500% by 2025. 

In 2018 we are creating an inclusive biking program with our community partner, The Blind Social Center (who caters to 600+ patrons). We plan to create a tandem cycling club that tours the region advocating for infrastructure improvements. Take Bike the Streets: Biking with the Blind is a project for peo­ple of all abilities to encourage recreational collaborations to implement tourism, well­ness and economic development in Gary, Indiana and beyond. 

We are also looking to expand our Ken Parr Build-a-Bike Shop hours and have partnered with Northern Lights Eco Adventures to launch an expeditionary, service-based learning camp for teens for the summer of 2018. Our hope is once some of our build-a-bike participants turn 18, they will also be able to be hired by Zagster to maintain our bikeshare cycles, thus creating a cottage industry for Garyites that could expand across the region.

Goal 3: Bike Share and Car Share programs will increase from zero users to a combined twenty (20) users per day by 2019. 

We are seeking community partners to help fund the 2018-2019 season of Zagster as well as looking for parties interested in participating in a car share program. 
(Gary's Miller Spotlight volunteers enjoying the new Zagster Bike Share.)

Goal 4: Provide shuttle bus services to 500 Miller residents on weekends and for special events by summer 2016 and increase numbers by 10% each year until the beginning of 2018. 

This service actually launched a year early in the summer of 2015! We have been working all summer to up the ridership and market this amazing service/ partnership with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We will continue to work with NPS on this project.

Goal 5: Develop a website tracking physical obstacles to accessibility in Miller and improve the 10 public sites identified as least accessible by 2020. 
Access Miller has partnered with Barrier Free Beach 2020 and The City of Gary on this project. We ran 6 workshops on this subject and received a 2016 ADA Indiana Community Grant. We created a multi platformed educational series on accessibility. Access 4 All premiered as part of the Directed by Women Global Film Festival this September. A portion of the series Access 4 All: Progress in our Parks was featured in the Indiana Dunes Film Festival.  

It is now available on YouTube at : Access 4 All

Please watch the series, take the survey and encourage others to do so too. 

We just received a 2017 ADA Indiana Community Grant that we will collaborate on with the National Lakeshore and City of Gary.

You can access our entire Access Miller Updates here:

Goal 6: Make all Miller Spotlight web content accessible by 2019. 

We have designed our content to be as universal as possible and continue to do so. Please email any notes/ recommendations to millerspotlight@gmail.com.

(Click here to find our more about Gary’s Miller Spotlight.)